Teeph are a groove-filled noise rock trio that consists of originators Sesar Sanchez (guitar) and Alex Coffin (drums) as well as later member Matt Shilts (bass). “Vietnamaste” is their second album, following 2009’s self-titled, and takes a more light-hearted approach, although there are still some pretty intense moments to be had.
To pigeonhole Teeph is a tough job: the choice of noise-rock here is out of no other idea of how to describe the band within one or two words. These guys seem to take elements from the eclectic, the heavy and the downright experimental; influences seeming to range from the likes of The Abominable Iron Sloth, Hella, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Giraffes? Giraffes!, Gaza and bundle of post-rock bands. So it’s safe to say that Teeph offer a chaotic and schizophrenic package.
Along with that, the band adopts the funny song titles akin to An Albatross, Daughters, The Locust and You Slut!. Even though this might make you think you’re in for a lot of fun and happy tracks, that’s not the case overall. While this album does feel a lot more up-beat and ‘spastic’ for a lack of a better term, the crushing sludge elements are still there, as well as the tech metal brutality and harsh screams and growls.
The first track a/s/l, a reference to the chatroom shorthand age/sex/location, kicks at you immediately with pummeling drums and speedy guitar chords, soon jumping into duo vocals as the instruments stall-and-start in a frenzy. Brokowski features the same kind of approach, the drums being much more prominent and part of the fun. The guitar also sounds luscious around the 50-second mark and onwards. There is a break however, where the band enter a morose jam with echoed souring vocals – a total 180 from the first half of the track.
This Song Is Called… is a dreary, sombre instrumental track that sounds like Radiohead covering medley of Louis Armstrong’s A Wonderful World and Amon Tobin’s Slowly; a weird concept but perhaps the only example I could ever give to explain it. The track does enter a louder, distorted phase, and warrants some sort of tongue-in-cheek attitude throughout, stopping the whole song from actually feeling depressing in any way.
On songs like You Should Probably Stop Being An Asshole and Fix It, Baby!, the Hella influence comes through strongly, especially in the latter track, during the first few seconds when you’re flashed with fast-weaving guitar arpeggios and chaotic drums. However, after the screaming of “Why don’t you fucking fix it, bitch?”, the band goes at a blurrying pace before entering a sludge phase, and the process repeats.
Needless to say, the album is a gem in consideration of how fluently different styles are pieced together within songs, let alone on the album as a whole. While there are plenty of bands and albums that experiment with several styles and genres in their material, “Vietnamaste” has an inspiring amount of ingenuity, never feeling like anything is recycled or copied.
In the end, Teeph have your attention tight in their grip and they shout for more. Plus, any band that uses “Don’t fuck yourself, fuck me” (Teeph Goes On Welfare) is always going to be an interesting listen.
You can download the album at your own price here.
Favourite tracks: Brokowski, Fix It, Baby!, The Retarded King.