Hailing from Melbourne, The Sinking Teeth are a trio dealing in a volatile brand of punk that resembles a hot mess of influences from Refused to The Bronx and Brand New. What makes them stand out though, is their particularly unique, individual sound that’s a blend of gritty riffs, urgent melodies, explosive drums and front-man Nick’s signature visceral coarse vocal style. Together these elements make for an immediate and compelling sound that’s equal parts energetic and catchy.
Their first EP White Water, was released three years ago, garnering praise and a sizeable audience. Bassist Jules describes launching the long-awaited single, Good Grief, as being “Like when you haven’t taken a shit for two days and that first one is real hard, and the rest just feels real easy you know? It’s like the butt-plug of the poos.”
After a three year wait The Sinking Teeth are back and the floodgates are set to burst. Good Grief is the first taste of what’s to come, and it’s a sizeable appetiser. Sink those fangs in.
Chat about the bands’ lack of fibre aside, how does Good Grief, measure up? After the first listen it’s surprising to note that the track comes in at just under three minutes, it’s dense and manages to show off a lot of different sides, and even more cleverly deft tempo changes, but avoids feeling overcrowded. It opens with an impressive slew of rolling drums that demand attention and set the stage before the deep grooving bass introduces itself; simultaneously holding the band together and commanding the rest of the trio forward, all the while crunchy guitar riffs play over the top, grabbing you and refusing to let go right until the very end.
Three-pieces make for an exceptionally dynamic sound when executed well, but also face greater focus on their parts as a result of their equal roles. When asked about the heightened pressure Jules says, “I like it personally, I like having my bass more present and the only time I’d be a bit warmer and tone it back would be if there were two guitarists, it works as a three-piece because we all play an equal role and have to be out there.”
Nick sings about living a half-life, the painful period that follows when something life changing happens to you, leaving you wandering around shell-shocked. When asked about what fuels the lyrics of the song he says that inspiration came from the idea that after a great loss in your life it’s a massive time of growth and learning: “there’s a lot of really deep dark stuff in there, like my dad passed away when I was like 14 so something I’ve always thought about post that happening, is how that’s always shaped who I was. I realised I had to push hard and do things, it’s about being angry and growing out of that.”
But there’s no dreariness in the song. More prevalent than the pain, is the acknowledgement of the personal growth that comes afterwards; ‘The growing pains of getting old/this is how we live our lives’. The second part of that lyric, along with a resounding call of yeah‘s are the main vocal hooks throughout the song and act as a vehicle of catharsis, no doubt the crowd will be screaming it right back at them, fists raised, at their live shows.
The drummer is all over the kit like some kind of octopus, keeping tight with crashing cymbals and truly impressive fills. Together with bassist Jules, they make for an impressively tight unit, commanding you to head-bang. There’s a good balance of instrumental jamming in with the rest of the song, showing off some greatly toned isolated guitar riffs and a compelling part where the rhythm section and guitar exchange fire at each other in compelling style.
The rough vocals on the single are indicative of The Sinking Teeth’s overall sound; it’s dark and punky but there’s equal parts melody and optimism and they hold your attention right to the pained drawn-out howl that finishes the song.
Three years is a long time for anticipation to build, the single delivers on this anticipation like a good appetiser; it’s satisfying but leaves you hungry for more. Loyal fans will feel rewarded with Good Grief, and no doubt many new listeners will join the crowd.