The first thing I thought about when I was allocated “Kiss Full Of teeth” by Gabriel And The Hounds was William Gibson’s novel “Zero History” where one of the key plot lines revolves around an ultra-exclusive, very low-key denim brand called “The Gabriel Hounds” that no-one knows much of anything about… but is seen adorning all the right people.
“Kiss Full Of Teeth” is thankfully not like this fictional brand… it is an accessible and highly loveable collection of songs that display musical depth and place an emphasis on an orchestral wall-of-sound aesthetic… an aesthetic I treasure.
Tracks like “Wire And Stone” have a wonderful Eric Matthews-style orchestral chamberpop feel to them… with a full-on wall-of-sound created with all manner of instruments including a delightful horn section that builds in intensity and feeling throughout the track.
“Lovely Thief” has a similar vibe… albeit with strings playing a key part in the overall ambience… underpinning some heartbreakingly yearning vocals. Not quite “Eleanor Rigby” but cut from similar cloth.
The second track and ’proper’ opener “What Good Would That Do?” has more of a 50’s-guitar-with-horns vibe which is still a real builder… a very broad, big sound. “When We Die In South America” has a similar big sound… that has all the delightful hallmarks of Phil Spektor to it… before some strings enter the fray and build up the song further.
I think for me the production is key… the soundscapes that feature on this release present a valuable alternative to modern pop… there is a depth to the music presented… a care is presented… the kind of attention to detail that comes from people who care about their craft. Even the unrepresentative opening track… a ’tuning up’ instrumental entitled “A Beginning”… has this care emblazoned all over it.
What’s more… the vocals have a Scott Walker vibe about them… a real modern-day troubadour vibe that reminds me of Eric Matthews’ criminally undervalued album from 1997 “The Lateness Of The Hour” on Sub Pop.
Fans of The Divine Comedy, Yann Tiersen and Eric Matthews will warm quickly to this album… if they haven’t already. Fans of big orchestral sounds will also get this album. I, for one, am impressed and look forward to hearing more.
My only criticism of the release is its duration… 31 minutes just isn’t enough for me… but this is a minor criticism that is founded in my greed for the sounds presented.