With their 2017 debut ‘Clever Girl’ delivering a fiercely lyrical viewpoint of the world amidst a backdrop of chunky riffs, Sharptooth have refined their formula with its follow-up, ‘Transitional Forms’.
An aptly titled record, the quintet push further into new soundscapes whilst retaining their aggressive backbone to create an attesting record.
Opening with a barrage of thick riffs, ‘Say Nothing’ pulls no punches. Driven by Lauren Kashan‘s commanding growls, the quintet deliver a streamlined and furious hardcore track to set the tone. Maintaining the same level of fury and in equal parts passion, ‘Mean Brain’ follows the breathless opener. Whilst the track does follow the hardcore rule book, the scathing lyricism and the rough and ready groove that underlines it allows it to stand on its own.
Proving that there’s more to their sophomore LP than guttural vocals and neck snapping riffs, ‘Life On The Razor’s Edge’ sits between atmospheric finger-picking and a pummelling chorus. Showing more restraint than previous offerings, Sharptooth not only display a willingness to move around the genre’s confines, but also sees the quintet play with structure.
Continuing to disregard the conventional hardcore route, ‘The Grey’ proves to be turning point for the record. Granted, ‘Transitional Forms’ could rest upon ten sharp and considering cuts of politically charged hardcore, but instead, ‘The Grey’ twists around moments of intimacy, disjointed guitars and a bludgeoning breakdown. In a genre renowned for its employment of chugging breakdowns, it’s an impressive feat that Keith Higgins and Lance Donati create one that immediately stands out.
Continuing to bring explosive and relentless energy, ‘Evolution’ drags the group’s punk influences to the forefront. Brimming with white knuckled fury and frantic guitars, the track rarely leaves room to breathe. The same can be said for ‘153’, avoiding many of the pitfalls of modern hardcore (mainly the blurring of tracks), Higgins and Donati fly through the fretboard with reckless abandon.
Following up from the brief yet uncompromising ‘Manic Pixie Dream Bitch’, Sharptooth choose the melodic yet raw ‘Nevertheless (She Persisted)’ to close a record that capitalises on the promise that was shown on their debut. Filled with dynamic twists and turns, the track sees a sprawling performance from Kashan, switching between clean vocals and roaring screams to serve as a fitting conclusion to a breakneck record.
Unique and unforgiving, ‘Transitional Forms’ not only solidifies Sharptooth‘s sound, it also serves as a jumping point for the group to explore.