“It’s a band from the SK system your majesty – the inhabitants call them Teeth of the Sea”…
Teeth of the Sea’s second album builds up on the momentum and foundations laid down by the first and from their EP. It’s an eclectic mixture of styles that sees the band lurch between Terry Riley minimalism to full-on space sonic rock.
The opener “Hovis Coil” begins full of Strawberry Switchblade “Since Yesterday”-sounding horns. As the track progresses more instruments are added to the mix as the song builds in intensity. Yes, at time the track is reminiscent of Coil (whom I assume the title refers to), but rather than the dark occult leanings of Balance and co., “Hovis …” feels lighter in tone, like a repeating acid horn section from a Beatles track from ‘67. It is a good opener and makes you wonder what is ahead for the rest of the album. “Transfinite” is all Orb-sounding shimmering ambience for the minute that it lasts and really can be seen as a prelude for “The Ambassador,” where a two note bass line hangs together screaming guitars and power chords before the song takes off proper. By this point the track would not have sounded out of place on Eno’s Here come the Warm Jets album as it slides in to an unearthly closing coda, while smothered with echoed guitar and voices, “Mothlike” conjures up a cross-pollination between Syd Barrett’s Pink Floyd and mid-period Kraftwerk as if heard through a dream.
Title track “Your Mercury” opens with an Apollo-era Eno sound, all rippling synths and sub-space noises. This is joined by a jazzier horn sound similar in feel to the way David Sylvian used them on his Brilliant Trees album, before the lead guitar takes over and we head down to firmer rock territory. “Midas Rex” again starts on an ambient drone that liltingly takes you into sequenced Klaus Schulze-style synths before it fades. A big Mellotron-sounding choir kicks in “ACRONYM” with its progressive rock sound not a million miles away from bands like Zombi and by far the jauntiest track by this part of the album, and the crystal-clear lead guitar swoops Steve Hillage-like over the track. “Horses with Hands” take’s us back to Eno/Coil ambience and is similar in atmosphere to the second side of Bowie’s Low album.
A sample from the film Paris Texas opens “Red Soil,” its ethereal synths and gliss guitar adding a certain amount of melancholy to the voices. The bass’s mournful sound stops abruptly before we head into 2001-sounding choirs before the final space rock assault hits you like crashing into the sun. The album’s closing tune “Cemetery Magus” seems slightly at odds to what’s preceded it in its overall tone and sounds like an out take from the Virgin Prunes A New Form of Beauty sessions. This leaves the album hanging in a rather claustrophobic way rather than in the more open vistas of the rest of the record. The whole thing is at times quite intense stuff and needs repeated listens to really do it justice.
Teeth of the Sea: ‘saviours of the universe?’ Hmmm, they could just be that…