18 Mar 2020

Echoes and Dust reviews Teeth of the Sea live in Birmingham

They say:

It’s a calming and reverent space. . . into which Teeth Of The Sea are blasting their lucid dreaming space-rock soundtracks. Once you settle into the unfamiliar band/audience dynamics, and get comfy in the pews, it offers a chance to soak up the widescreen layers of their sound. It was nice to give it your full attention without fellow punters pushing past spilling beer down your leg or chattering inanely and only the odd, shamefaced, spot of phone bothering. Sam Barton’s trumpet feels at home in here, calling to the heavens and ringing out pure above the mesh of processed sounds from Mike and Jimmy.

Down in the fourth row the sound is great; clear, loud and detailed. Although later discussions reveal it was less reliable in the balcony and the bass was causing the fittings to buzz and rattle elsewhere. The set draws mostly on 2019’s fantastic Wraith album, loosely following its template of gathering intensity. No strangers to unusual live situations, last year they played original new music to accompany the ‘Apollo Moon Shot’ screening at The Science Museum. Some of that music makes it into the set tonight about which I can tell you two things. Firstly, it’s great and second, the stuff they chose to include continued in the vein of Wraith, which is just fine by me.

Much of the joy of Teeth Of The Sea is that they have one foot in this rarefied world of screening soundtracks and exploratory art rock diversions, but keep the other planted on the monitor of rock ‘n’ roll, embodied in Jimmy Martin’s flying V guitar and Marshall stack, set up in place of the altar. There’s a moment when the mostly subtle washes of the light show turn to vivid bleeding blue-and-yellow bands. and it’s briefly like watching an old German TV clip of some hairy kosmische adventurers getting their freak on. Still, as they build to an intensity that’s starting to feel a little out of place in here, it’s less that spirit of rock than a double shot of thumping techno that charges to the front. By the time they finish with ‘Gladiators Ready’ it’s ridiculous. The sound is huge, like dinosaurs stomping up and down the aisle, and I’m helplessly grinning in mad amazement at the absurdity and brilliance of it. Magnificent.

Read the full review here: E&D