I am the least punk. I might have a back patch of a big anthropomorphized rat smoking a fat one safety-pinned to my denim jacket, but I choked on a candy cigarette from the ice cream man. I don’t know a whole lot about punk rock, but Cut Teeth’s Night Years is everything I’ve been wanting to find in my search for my perfect punk band. Their guitars are loud, their drums are big, their vocals are raw, and their songs are intense. Everything on the record sounds real. The vocals aren’t some boring rehashed screaming that have become all too common in metal bands. The screams sound like screams, and they are some vicious ones at that. It’s really remarkable how Dustin Currier (formerly of The Felix Culpa) can keep up screaming like this for an entire album. His screams sound like something that would render any mortal’s voice useless after 30 seconds of tracking.
For far too long, I’ve been jaded about lots of punk music because it seems nothing more than power chords and the same rhythms. As a guitarist, I love to see other musicians branch outside of typical rhythms and time signatures to make something you have to take a moment to study and still groove to after that. That said, it’s always pretty disorienting to be bombarded with weird times and no mention of 4/4. Night Years is math rock with chutzpah, and boy is it welcome. Cut Teeth doesn’t sacrifice groove for technicality, as shown in “Christmas on Easter Island”, but they know exactly when to throw a wrench between your legs. These guys clearly sat down and said: “We’re good musicians. Let’s have some fun with these songs.” Dizzyingly navigating through rapid time switches, they toy with stop-and-go rhythms that are just jarring enough to make sure you’re paying attention.
“Rehearsal Dojo” is a fantastic interlude. It shows that bands with singers don’t always have to have lyrics to their songs and still take the time to craft something unique that fits in the with the record. All too often, bands will include an instrumental interlude somewhere in their records that can slow down the record and/or seem completely out of place (lookin’ at you, Paramore). While “Rehearsal Dojo” does come in a bit early, I think it fits pretty well in the grand scheme of Night Years. “Gunshots or Fireworks” is a nice change of pace toward the end of Night Years, too. The delayed clean tone sounds lush and full; a stark, yet appreciable change to the rest of the album.
I would like the bass to be louder, but that just gives me another reason to go see them live. I’m desperately hoping Cut Teeth tour soon and hit the East Coast. If you like big, loud rock bands, don’t sleep on this record. I doubt you could anyway.