Rarely, if ever, does a good idea alone make for a great album. Unfortunately for the newly-formed Cut Teeth, the band’s clear and evident talent isn’t enough to truly elevate its debut, Night Years. The band is a bit of a super group of sorts, consisting of members of The Felix Culpa, Stay Ahead of the Weather, Red Knife Lottery, and Monday’s Hero. Most casual listeners will only be familiar with The Felix Culpa, but one listen to any song off of Night Years will result in the same conclusion: these guys are talented. This is a whirling, throwback style of post-hardcore that evokes bands like Hot Cross and These Arms Are Snakes while carrying a unique sound to it. You can hear echoes of progressive post-hardcore like Dance Gavin Dance or The Fall of Troy. These guys are really good at their instruments. The second conclusion listeners will make is that the members clearly enjoy playing with each other. This sounds like a bunch of friends jamming together, and the recording helps crystallize that notion.
Unfortunately, the third conclusion is what hinders Night Years. Sure, listening to any one song from the record will put a smile on the face of someone who enjoys 90s post-hardcore; however, many of the songs aren’t fully fleshed out, especially from each other. The minimal use of melody is a nice call to the past, but it makes most of the tracks carry a similar feel. Save for the moments when Cut Teeth gets pensive (in the excellent “Gunshots or Fireworks”), the songs feel unfortunately homogenized. Sure, the individual parts are interesting enough, the riffs and vocals begin to sound the same. Although, special mention must go to “Laud-Mouth” that features all of the band’s best assets pumped into a three minute blazer.
That’s why it’s so difficult to piece out any standouts. Listen to a song on random, and Cut Teeth is sure to win you over. Listen to all of this debut at once? You’ll be left unfortunately underwhelmed. The talent is clearly there, and it’s impressive how well fleshed out Cut Teeth’s sound is on a debut. However, when presented as a ten-course meal, it’s tough to feel fulfilled. Mozzarella sticks are pretty tasty as an appetizer, but you wouldn’t eat a five-course meal of fried cheese, would you?
Purchase Night Years here: http://www.topshelfrecords.com/products/533441-cut-teeth-night-years