By Eli Shively, General Manager
Key Tracks: “Garlic Soup,” “Roach Motel”
Loud Rock has experienced somewhat of a renaissance in the 2010s, with everything from a so-called “shoegaze revival” to a wave of 90’s alt-rock nostalgia in DIY music circles seemingly happening all at once. However, most of what’s become of this re-welcoming of Loud back into the pantheon of cool has been either hesitant to associate itself completely with the style (pick a band currently garnering a DIY following) or too derivative to accomplish anything truly exciting (Nothing, DIIV, basically anything the kids call “gazey”).
Philly’s Loose Tooth manage to avoid pigeonholing themselves into either of these categories on their full-length debut Big Day by unabashedly showing off their influences — everything from decades-old college radio fodder, to shoegaze, to math rock and even a tinge of emo — and melding them together with enthusiasm and creativity, creating something that feels entirely new in the process. Take “Roach Motel,” the record’s standout track, for instance. The opening 20 seconds would feel right at home on Wowee Zowee and the song’s structural looseness is reminiscent of fellow Pennsylvanians Algernon Cadwallader.
Yet, while Loose Tooth certainly borrows their style, it doesn’t feel borrowed on the whole. Big Day is injected with enough variety and originality to keep it feeling fresh throughout its entire runtime — the loud/quiet/loud groove of “Garlic Soup,” the freewheeling instrumental “Lisa Lives,” and the gigantic angular jam “Free Skate” is a three-track stretch fans of unorthodox rock music won’t soon forget. And at only 24 minutes, it’s packed with enough new and interesting stuff that most listeners will find the repeat button hard to avoid after a full listen-through.
Overall, there really isn’t a whole lot to dislike about Big Day. Sure, you could argue that bands like Greys and Two Inch Astronaut achieve a similar sound on a much larger scale, but Loose Tooth’s nostalgic and math-inspired vibe sets them adequately apart from the modern day noise rock crowd. With so many unique, unconventional moments fit nicely into such a small package, there aren’t a lot of good excuses for not checking this record out. Unless, of course, you hate being pleasantly surprised.