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.
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