Crooked Teeth: The Happiest I’ve Been
I’ve come to find that well written albums can make for hard-to-write album reviews. Crooked Teeth’s The Happiest I’ve Been may not be an impossible EP to review, but it doesn’t make for simple analysis, either. Perhaps this is because there are no obvious sonic comparisons to assist in describing the record’s bright and ambient brand of shoegazing post-hardcore. The instruments seem to find themselves pleasantly caught somewhere between the swift strums of punk, the dredging chugs of hardcore, and the sweeping licks of metal. This categorical instability is held in place only by the constant of raw, impassioned vocals.
Though their tone is slightly jarring at times, especially from the backing vocalist, whose screams often sound like a member of the Beastie Boys, there is an endearing quality to this intentionally strained timbre, like that break in your favorite singer’s voice during an emotional live performance. Crooked Teeth’s lyrical choices are also fresh and surprising. On “Waltz for Schlitzie,” the vocalists scream back and forth: “We talked in tongues / Told stories of love that would never grace us / We drank the finest wine our money could buy / Until we forgot all about our shitty, insignificant lives.” With words like these, teetering on the fence between poetry and post-hardcore argot, The Happiest I’ve Been is an album that will keep both listeners and reviewers on their toes.
This review first appeared in Issue Four