Beginning life as a five-piece but now trimmed down to a trio, London-based Teeth of the Sea have shown glimpses of their potential over the past decade. Each new release has seen them take their intense brand of instrumental electro-rock to new places, blending post-rock and progressive electronica with elements of psychedelia, industrial, techno, noise and jazz. Despite working superbly in a live setting though it hasn’t quite come together in the studio. Until now, that is.
With production by Erol Alkan, and featuring guest collaborators Valentina Magaletti, Chlöe Herington and Katharine Gifford, their fifth full-length album Wraith takes the strongest elements of their previous four releases to create their most sophisticated and cohesive work to date. Not a minute of the forty-seven is wasted, with the album finely balanced between its more energetic and subtle moments.
‘I’d Rather, Jack’ is quite the opener with its ‘Idioteque’-like beat and trumpet combo, which then builds over the course of five-minutes to include distorted guitar. Things slow down slightly on the seven-minute ‘Hiraeth’ (which translates roughly to mean “missing something” in Welsh), beginning with some slightly mournful trumpet before transforming into something heavier during the final third.
A feature since their debut album Orphaned by the Sea, the trumpet appears several times across Wraith and to great effect. Taking centre stage on the stunning ‘Her Wraith’, it starts off woozily over slow tribal drumming and a touch of piano before opening up. They also cover some new ground on ‘Fortean Steed’ which is like the soundtrack to another planet featuring otherworldly female vocals and some acoustic finger picking.
The best moments on Wraith come from its more driving pieces, with the albums celestial centrepiece ‘VISITOR’ progressing from a basic synth line into an eight-minute electro-rock epic complete with joyous trumpet. And starting with a European hardcore-style bass drum before adding an acid techno synth line and some guitar you’d be hard pushed to hear an album closer as good as ‘Gladiators Ready’ anywhere else this year.
Wraith is available now via Rocket Recordings