Teethgrynder - Hostages

16 Oct 2021 - Thorsten

Noise, Alternative-Rock | Isolation Records | Release date: 29 Oct 2021

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Usually we tend to publish our reviews one week before release, but with this record I felt the urge to do it earlier for two reasons: First of all because it’s awesome and amazing, second because more people need to know about one of the most interesting records of the year. Hell, everyone should know about it!

Hostages is one of the best records of 2021. Hostages is one of the records of 2021. Hostages is one of the… you get it, right? At first glance this review is definitely over-enthusiastic, but if you listen to it with an open ear for noise and melody then you will be rewarded with a New Mexico-kind of heat in sound. Something that might remind one of Calexico and their style of layering classical elements from the area over a rock basis. However, Joey Burns and his mate are not the only reference, because there are more acts that seemingly automatically come up: Nick Cave (because of the vocals), The Jesus Lizard (the NOISE), 65daysofstatic (for the electronic build-ups) and even Einstürzende Neubauten (for all those little developments they underwent). That the band has parallels to Jaye Jayle and Daughters should not surprise anyone as both are featured on the record as well as Lisa Mungo.

The music changes between funky Jazzy wind instrumental parts and Noise galore and always has a few little hidden highlights up its sleeve. Something that should also be mentioned is the fact that Hostages has a perfect rhythm section at work. When listening to the great rhythmic precision of the opening track “Devilman” where the drums and their tribalistic character pull you in by the heart, not by the arm. Somehow pretty characteristic for a record that can drive you crazy, for sure. Another thing that demands attention are the vocals, as they are somewhere between Alexis Marshall and Nick Cave which is maybe one of the most intriguing crossover ever done lately, that becomes most obvious when listening to ”Casey Rowe’s Ghost”.

Teethgrynder-mastermind Jay Thurley is able to present an enormous piece of work here with a lot of little details making every song a real adventure to witness. Take for example that little Western-twang on the track ”Zeal, the Assassin”, which is simply breathtaking as it works like a little cushion underneath the audience and simultaneously transports us back in time. Something else that needs to be mentioned is the way that Thurley takes his time constructing the songs and the record. Very often slow, dragging songs are followed by lively ones, with trumpets or other nice and genuine instruments painting a kind of sparkley character on the blank canvases that are the songs. His vocals are often more like a background instead of a major role. When listening to ”Votive Sighs” that seems to be different because it is nothing but a very thoughtful monologue by Alexis Marshall over a Neoclassical/Doomjazz track talking about people like Charles Manson.

The bonus edition features six more tracks which often show another different side of Teethgrynder; sometimes a kind of frantic flirt with Noise and Ambient. The fact that all of these songs seem to have a different character and can be classified differently only points to Jay’s own openness and his willingness to use any genre for the new record. Even when having to deal with six more tracks. Thurley has created my favorite Noise-Rock record of the year. Full stop. Now you listen to it.