Released in July, Crooked Teeth marks the glorious return of Melbourne post-hardcore outfit House Vs Hurricane. The band ripped the scene to shreds with their synthy break-downs and bass drops back in 2008, something we’d all heard in bands like The Devil Wears Prada, but seeing the same noise come out of a local band simply blew all our minds. But Crooked Teeth doesn’t have that. Yep, no synth, and not the same vocalist. So what does that leave us you ask? Well, we’re left with a band who have figured out how to do more with less.
The band acts boldly with their new vocalist, making no attempts to duplicate their previous sound, instead pushing forward into uncharted territory with Dan Casey. It doesn’t take long for shit to get real; opening track 40 Deep serves as a perfect desensitiser to the ensuing chaos. First single off the release Blood Knuckles is by far one of the greatest off the album; the clean vocals shine through in gaps left free of growls. Blood Knuckles climaxes with a good vs. evil build up of growls and cleans before getting proverbial on us and dropping the line of the year, ‘The strength of the wolf is the pack, And The strength of the pack is the wolf’. ‘Yeah, it is’, indeed.
The ‘trimming the fat’ ethos the band entered the studio with does at times come through in the songs. Though they’ve done a great job of filling the voids where synth would be with some chuggy, big riffs and a cheeky extra breakdown or a wicked bass drop to usher in the next big riff.
As the release continues, their change of direction to a more hardcore vibe becomes obvious in tracks such as Dead Lizzard. Clean vocals seem to serve less of a purpose as they did in Perspectives, their 2009 release, and riffs turn into breakdowns that seem to last entire verses.
Bare Bones is the end of the line, but it gives clean vocals and mellow rhythms centre stage, though the much-needed change up comes late in the record, at least they’ve got it there. Crooked Teeth doesn’t feel like a House Vs. Hurricane album, it’s got the skeletons of one, though the muscle, blood, flesh, everything else is totally new. HVH were once the skinny-jeaned, long-fringed kid in a tight band T-shirt standing at the back of the pit, arms folded. Now its the shaved head, throat-tattooed maniac throwing down and taking names; so while the look is something we’re not used to, it fucking suits them.