Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Blogging a song a week into an album

Baby Teeth

Hustle Beach

Lujo 074

Chicago trio Baby Teeth’s third album is, in part, the by-product of blogging. 52 Teeth is songwriter and Baby Teeth member Abraham Levitan’s website, on which he posted a song a week for a year. Hustle Beach presents the cream of this abundant crop: a well-crafted collection of power pop.

Levitan’s voice bears more than a passing resemblance to Elvis Costello; and it’s clear that the elder songwriter’s omnivorous stylistic reach has also made a strong impression on Baby Teeth. But Levitan has updated Costello’s acerbity, zeroing in on the pitfalls of contemporary suburbia (he cites Philip Roth’s American Pastoral as a strong impulse for Hustle Beach).

There’s sophistication to the arrangements; recalling Badly Drawn Boy and Mitchell Froom, the multi-faceted keyboard textures, in particular, thrive. But there’s also a tautness and rhythmic urgency that propels the songs forward. In this, Baby Teeth are kindred spirits of the Hold Steady or even latter day Bruce Springsteen, channeling the anthemic as well as the intellectual.

MP3: Big Schools


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