Review: Sweet Teeth, High Anxiety (Lövely, 2022)

Finspång, Sweden's Sweet Teeth first crossed my path several months ago when "retired" Scandinavian tastemaker It's a Trap! hyped one of their new singles on Twitter. Self-described as "power pop/punk/Hüsker rock," the band has lineup ties to a number of groups that I'm not (yet?) familiar with, such as Dollhouse, The Deadbeats, etc.; not to mention Disfear, and—I think—Edge of Sanity, plus a few super obscure rock and punk acts like The Lucky Seven, Trimmad Elg, etc. that I know of through peripheral ties to the mighty Dan Swanö.

But enough goofy trivia, all that really matters is that High Anxiety dishes out 12 incredible tracks in about a half-hour, and Sweet Teeth has generally hit the mark in how they've classified their approach. I'd add that I also pick up on the energy and tonality of classic Dinosaur Jr. and some early Goo Goo Dolls, but they don't particularly sound like either, if that makes any sense!?

Amazing songwriting. That's all there is to it. Most tracks clock in under three minutes, and several don't even hit two! Just get in 'n' get out, you know? And yet, the material still covers a lot of ground in terms of atmosphere—at times it's all about charging tempos and hooks, others more laidback and somber fare (though sap-free and far from bland). Somewhat loose and jangly, but still tight, and never without an expertly melodic sheen.

While attempting to research the lineup, I encountered some less-than-astute website that essentially boiled Sweet Teeth down to "this is pretty good, but it's nothing new." Whiff of the decade right there! You don't have to reinvent the fuckin' wheel to crank out kick-ass tunes, folks. In less than a week's time, High Anxiety is already working its way onto my year-end favorites list. It's just that good. Additional tracks are jumping out and grabbing my attention with each listen. Hell, it's great, actually.

I haven't shelled out for the vinyl yet—limited to 500 on pink and 500 on transparent yellow—crossing my fingers that some U.S. availability will present itself within another month or two, so hopefully that won't bite me in the ass. Whatever the means, however, this one's highly recommended. Fantastic.

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