Teeth & Tongue

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Monobasic (2008), 6/10
Tambourine (2011), 5/10
Grids (2014), 4/10
Give Up on Your Health (2016), 5/10
Jess Cornelius: Distance (2020), 5/10

The Australian project Teeth & Tongue, the brainchild of the New Zealand-born vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist Jessica Cornelius, began on Monobasic (2008) as a gentler, more melodic version of the Pretenders, with Cornelius in the role of a less gritty Chrissie Hynde, and sometimes even slightly operatic (There Is a Lightness to My Bones, But Still He Stood His Ground). Left only with a guitarist (Marc Regueiro-McKelvie) and a drum-machine, Cornelius recorded Tambourine (2011) that veered towards electronic dance-pop. The transition continued on Grids (2014), with a real drummer and a real bassist helping Cornelius and Regueiro-McKelvie, and was completed on Give Up on Your Health (2016) by songs like Cupcake Revisited (an atmospheric elegy with techno beat) and Dianne (a driving and pulsating rave-up).

Cornelius, who had already tested the waters with the single Jealousy (2017) and the five-song EP Nothing Is Lost (2017), then relocated to Los Angeles and launched her solo career in earnest with the album Distance (2020), that abandons the electronics altogether and focuses on her crooning skills. Some songs (No Difference and Here Goes Nothing) are reminiscent of the romantic ballads of the teen-idols of the 1950s. The few moments of real pathos, like Kitchen Floor (a sort of lightweight Nick Cave) and Street Haunting (a sort of lightweight Lou Reed) are unfortunately counterbalanced by trivial material like the lethargic country litany Easy for no one and the orchestral dirge Love and Low Self Esteem. The "synthetic" song that links back to her latter-day Teeth & Tongue albums is the lame Body Memory.

(Copyright © 2020 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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