Teeth and Tongue – Tambourine (2011 LP)

Reading reviews of female artists usually gets my blood up as the rampant sexism ingrained in society overflows with reckless abandon. Bands with female members are referred to as a ‘chick band’, women are lauded for their ‘rock chick’ stylings and being ballsier then their male counterparts – as though wielding a guitar and ripping out a menacing riff is an act naturally performed by those with external reproductive organs and not part of the feminine skill set.

Jess Cornelius’ talent transcends such inane labelling as she bares her soul to a backdrop of sparse instrumentation that is instantly captivating. Playing under the monkier Teeth & Tongue, Cornelius released her sophomore LP Tambourine earlier this year and to her credit it is another striking album full of wonky guitar and smouldering discontent.

Sultry vocals, floating melodies and tales of romance gone sour abound on Tambourine. Cornelius’ voice is all consuming as she casually reflects on relationship break downs with a general feeling of restlessness that is easily relatable. Opening track “Walls” is an apocalyptic affair with its brooding mess of guitars and 505 drum machine beats. “Unfamiliar Skirts” is a softer tune about the dangers of mysterious women that features fantastically breathy vocals as Cornelius croons about ‘seeking forgiveness in the muscle of their thighs’. “Sad Sun” see’s her channeling a bit of Karen O in the vocal department which is backed up by incredibly catchy riffs and a bleak undertone. “Vaseline On The Lens” is a masterpiece with the dangerous bass line that drives the song that perfectly compliments Cornelius’ gravelly vocal delivery.

Tambourine is a good record that engages the listener from beginning to end. The moody atmospherics and artistry in the arrangements make a refreshing departure from the 90’s infused lap top music that indie muso’s in Melbourne have been churning out this year, as does the integral nature of Cornelius’ sound. Teeth & Tongue have released a fine LP that is one of the definite highlights of 2011. A must have for fans of The Velvet Underground, Lou Reed and PJ Harvey.

Review Score: 8/10