Dentist invent a new genre of rock – and I am a fan
This year I’ve enjoyed many fantastic records but one genre that hadn’t had its itch scratched was that mildly cutesy indie rock that reminds me of a rowdy shoegaze 4 chord rock of the early to mid 90’s (mainly as that’s when I was a teen and finding my musical groove). Enter Dentist, a band from New Jersey whom can crack out grungy anthems in just over three minutes with plenty of guitars, messy vocals, heavy drums and an energetic push that surges under you and carries you on its wave.
“Upset Words” is a great stomping opener. It’s fast guitars, building choruses and grimy vocals really explode the album open out the doors. I’ve seen the term surfer rock thrown around with the band and on the title track I can kind of see where people are coming from. To me, surfer rock has that 60’s clean vibe but Dentist take the kind of guitar riffs you’d find in a surfer rock track and grunges them up. Guitar solos sound dirty as all hell and the vocals have an atmospheric haze around them that Elizabeth Frasier would be proud of. These surfers have gone well under. There is also an element of Sri or Charly Bliss here as the two-minute thrash of “Alone in the Garden” has that whiny but so catchy vocal delivery of a bubblegum girl of America meh’ing all over the rock. It works so well – I’m not giving it justice.
“Oh” also makes me think the band has taken inspiration from Tanya Donnelly and her vocal and guitar structures. The swing in this track is infectious, as is the pure angst of “Pure Spot” that spits out enough energy to ride a rollercoaster in two minutes flat. Dentist know that these kinds of anthems are best played flat out and at under three minutes and the tight woven tracks all work to the album, and the bands advantage. Even when the songs are a bit more modern rock like “Remind Me” or “Figure-Four”, they fly by. The album, having basically rioted in full glitter for the first 7 tracks, takes a bit of a rest with some more midtempo, or slower building tracks and with this more ‘mature’ sound, Dentist pull off some great tracks – notably “Corked” and “Owl Doom Pt.2” – both of which turn down the electronic guitars and the production lets the more acoustic side peak out. Now, don’t get me wrong, mature doesn’t mean better, it just means that what feels like college campus anthems now also feel like you could acceptably in your 40’s play it out loud (I will be anyway!) – but often bands can’t do both and Dentist clearly can. As if by wake up call, the album ends with “The Latter” which drums rolls in a great merge of the two sides and ends the album causing a riot again and you’ll finish the album by kicking the repeat button screaming YAS!
Dentist’s “Night Swimming” is a concise, sharp, blazing album of anthems, rock celebrations, catchy riffs and a sound of pure energy. It takes an awful lot to make such a tightly woven collection of guitar riffs sound this well matted together and it’s an excellent album. Grunge surf is now a genre – I declare it so! Love it.
Recommended track: Night Swimming
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