Grapetooth

Grapetooth

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The musical duo of Clay Frankel and Chris Bailoni took seed in 2015 while Frankel was home from touring with his band Twin Peaks. He paid a visit to longtime acquaintance Bailoni, and they soon started writing songs together with Frankel's guitar and the synths in Bailoni's bedroom studio, the base for his Home-Sick solo project. As Grapetooth, the two merge shimmering, melodic, '80s new wave influences with Frankel's impulsive garage punk instincts. Full of contradictions, it's a catchy combination that, in their hands, comes off like a charm. Their eponymous debut opens with the hooky, euphoric "Violent," a song that lands in the vicinity of such '80s club classics as "Age of Consent" and "I Melt with You." Frankel's craggy, part-Jagger, part-Westerberg vocal delivery only adds a sense of authenticity to the tune, a highlight on an album that's varied within these distinct stylistic parameters. The Stones-inflected "Trouble" and the dilapidated, kazoo-and-guitar jangle of "Together," for instance, should have more appeal to those tuning in from Twin Peaks' fan base. There's a scruffy, irreverent quality to all of the songs, though, even a glimmering track like "Blood," with its shouty chorus. Mostly lively and danceable, more reflective entries include "Mile After Mile," which combines strummed guitar and warped, trombone-like keyboard timbres, and the boozy, woozy "Hallelujah" ("No one likes being alone, and no one likes working too hard"). Speaking of booze, alcohol is not only a recurring topic on the record (see "Red Wine" and "Hangover Sq.") but central in the project's name, a reference to wine-stained teeth. Despite its intentionally unrefined character, the album is well crafted in terms of both songs and production balance, though they may not want to cop to it on record.

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