Words by Nick Mee. @Nickjmee Photo by Chris Sharpe
Almost as fresh to the London scene as The Finsbury’s spankin’ pizza kitchen, and forging as immediate an impression in the venue, Long Teeth have a keen ear for dynamic contrast, tonight showing how pared-down guitar, bass and drums can pull out drops and crescendos worthy of the dancefloor dedicated. The trio’s quirky vignettes of the everyday, sung with a detached cynicism and a touch of theatricality, were blessed with spaciousness by singer/guitarist Sam, who was rightly confident that the taut rhythm section of Jade and Alessandro could carry the tunes on their broad-shouldered grooves. And when he did hack out his gritty guitar riffs and choppy chords, it delivered a genuine power surge.
Sam’s twisted yelps and expressive lyrical stutters first peppered the rhythmic vortex of ‘Frank The American’ (“Frank Lost His Head, In A Lancashire Bed”) and then ’Famous Girls’, which morphed from rockabilly riff into a surf-funk singalong about self-gratification. ‘Cut Myself Loose’ filled the room with its stripped-back bouncy ska, before Jade took control of the mic and the stage for the ambient rumble of ‘Mata Hari’. There was a looped intro to the thematic mechanical breaks of ‘Little Machine’ before Long Teeth had to deal with the twin trials of a busted guitar string and a dreary inebriate under the misconception that he was the headline act. He proved a harmless enough diversion, though, and after one of the other bands on the bill was able to lend a six-string, Sam initiated ‘Walk In The Water’ with the apt couplet, “Don’t You Know Morality Is A Moving Target/And I’ve Only Had A Couple Of Drinks”.
Long Teeth’s funky post-punk draws on elements of (an unhinged) Franz Ferdinand, plus the scratchy dubbisms of the Au Pairs and scattergun northern suspicions of The Fall, and if one were forced by, say, a lack of ideas on how to conclude a review, to compare the band to a pizza, then you'd go satisfyingly crisp with sparse but spicily unorthodox topping. Thin-crust beef paprika perhaps? I do hope The Finsbury’s new chef takes note…