Review: Gum Takes Tooth ‘Recovery Position’

Gum Takes Tooth have been on my musical radar for years now, from the first time I encountered them playing a grotty basement club in Brighton around 2012 – I knew they were an act worth keeping a close eye on. Their debut full-length Silent Cenotaph dropped in 2011 and caused somewhat of a stir with its frantic drum lines mixed with woozy psych vibes and alien synth work – making them pretty hard to pigeonhole and were incredibly infectious.

Gum Takes Tooth 'Recovery Position' Artwork
Gum Takes Tooth ‘Recovery Position’ Artwork

The follow-ups, Mirrors Fold (2014, Tigertrap Records) and Arrow (2019, Rocket Recordings), took that formula and honed it to near perfection. With Recovery Position they have dropped Tom’s drum kit and become a two-headed electronic powerhouse, opting instead for modular synths and drum machines to create something wonderful and unique. Despite the lack of skins, the sound is still unmistakably Gum Takes Tooth but with a renewed vigour and baring teeth.

Armistice kicks off the album in an incendiary fashion, a true statement of intent. Lurching broken beats with a heavy industrial feel intertwine with Jussi Brightmore‘s hypnotic vocal work and swathes of dark twisted bass, the drum work building and building in intensity until the whole thing collapses in on itself, a truly epic opener. After the second track Trust This Least delivers its clever juxtaposition of discordant noise bursts, FM synth stabs and cleverly concocted beats that are almost footwork in style – it brought to mind that ridiculous term ‘future beats’ – you know that section in the record store that is filled with overpriced AFX and Burial reissues no one asked for? If ever an act truly deserved that title, it’s these guys… truly uncategorizable and gloriously so.

clever juxtaposition of discordant noise bursts, FM synth stabs and cleverly concocted beats…

Small Arms offers some time for a breather – whilst not as menacing as the previous two tracks, this offers some gorgeous synth work over steppy beats before it winds its way to a rapturous crescendo, upping the intensity levels such that you will be dancing like a gibbon in no time. Duress Imprint is my personal favourite track on Recovery Position – truly bizarre alien synth and beat work, if I were to make some kind of comparison, I’d say it sat somewhere between JK Flesh and Gazelle Twin but on way more acid. It’s great mind food, subtly heavy rhythms, Jussi‘s dream like vocal delivery, the kaleidoscopic genre play, and the synth sounds that sound fresh and original all combine to make a delicious audio brew.

A Healing Hell is a trippy voyage through lush synthesizers and heavy dub elements, albeit with a heavy dose of industrial grit – tribal rhythms drive the track and yet again creates a genuinely unique and interesting vibe. Closer Octavia Eclipse delivers a great hybrid of techno mixed with wonky bass, bordering on IDM at points. The percussion on this one is particularly intriguing, brash and in your face, pushing everything forward and adding that little extra magic Gum Takes Tooth seem adept at.

As you can probably tell, I love this record. It’s their best work to date, refreshing and with some truly impressive sonic design, production and songwriting creating a sound that is entirely their own. I can’t wait to hear what they come up with next and Recovery Position will no doubt end up on my best of the year list. Essential.

Label: Wrong Speed Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Twitter | Instagram

Scribed by: Todd Robinson