Roomful of Teeth

Roomful of Teeth

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Roomful of Teeth is a New York-based a cappella octet and it's been said that the group straddles the boundary between classical music and pop, but more accurate would be to say that it goes so far beyond existing conceptions of a cappella vocal music in both the classical and pop spheres as to make the terminology meaningless. This is one wild ride. The 13 compositions on the album are by a variety of contemporary composers, but rarely have composers been so subordinate to the capabilities of an individual group. Those capabilities begin with classical training and a mastery of virtuoso close harmony singing, but they expand outward from there in a way that may seem limitless to those hearing Roomful of Teeth for the first time. The extra ingredient in most of the pieces is not classical extended technique but vocal devices borrowed from world musical traditions, including Tuvan throat singing, Korean traditional music, pop belting, and more. The texts are mostly simple and incantatory, something resembling vocal exercises. They are there as a vehicle for Roomful of Teeth above all. Even those who might find this album on the extreme side will concede its absolute originality. In short, it's like nothing else. The engineering is nearly as original as the music, making creative use of distortion but not interfering with the basic immediacy of the singers' natural voices.

blue highlight denotes track pick