Whenever you find a band whose tracks average around a minute and thirty seconds, what do you expect to hear? Intensity and aggression are probably your first responses, and they both fit the musical style of Rhode Island’s Weak Teeth. The whole idea behind these sorts of tracks is that you get your idea across and you’re out of there. Much like their fellow hardcore group Touché Amore, these guys infuse a lot of emo influences into what would otherwise be mindlessly violent music. Their full-length What a Plague You Are can work really well with its time constraints, but it also finds itself stumbling a bit.
The first couple of songs on the record start it off in a pretty decent manner. After the intro track we get “New Theatres for the Common Man” which shows off the in-your-face vocals the record possesses. The cathartic voice resounds even more in “Repetition Implies Importance, Implies Importance” with its yells bellowing “You can’t make me feel worthless/I’m not perfect but I’ve got a purpose” – lyrics guaranteed to get the crowd singing.
The main problem here is that for an album that only lasts twenty minutes it’s definitely not good to have any filler. Tracks like “Facebath 2: Hyperface,” “Awexome Cross ‘98” and “Arson Daily” just don’t have much going for them other than aggressiveness. It might have something to do with the fact that they are some of the record’s shortest tracks so they don’t get too much time to elaborate. However, when all is said and done they make up a sizable chunk of the album and their weaknesses are worth noting.
That’s not to say the album is bland or boring. There are indeed tracks that really make Weak Teeth’s songwriting stand out. In particular “No One is That ‘Going to Hell’ More Than Us,” which is the perfect mix of hardcore passion and fury with emo instrumentation and creativity. It’s tunes like this one that prevent the album from blending together.
The nine-minute closer “Blue Skies, Shit Life” comes completely out of left field but works perfectly. The track doesn’t take a long time building up; instead it charges in towards the speed and aggressiveness that the band is so prolific in writing. It’s a nice contrast to the short tracks that precede it, but still maintains a sense of familiarity.
In the end What a Plague You Are is the kind of record that fans of hardcore should enjoy. It’s not without small pitfalls but overall it works. If Weak Teeth can sprinkle some of their creativity into every track then we might be getting a truly great record in the future. For now they are still a band worth checking out, if a bit inconsistent.