By Brian Tucker
Victory Spoils the Meat may be your summer album. Travis Burdick and Doctor Gone Records may be far from Wilmington now but his label continues to put out fine music.
Last month saw the release (via Jett Plastic Recordings) of Burdick’s produced effort of a great live album by Dex Romweber and Crash LaResh (Dex & Crash – Our Night at Great Jones). Next up is the full length from Wilmington band Teeth of England, the wild and woolly Victory Spoils the Meat.
Last weekend physical copies hit town (I found it at Reggie’s Records) and it’s been spinning regularly at the house since.
The band, Dave Sinclair and Jimmy Phillips (Rural Swine), Seth Moody (countless ILM bands), and Burdick, recorded the album at Tony’s Guitar in Wilmington with Tommy Brothers. On Facebook they joke about professionalism, or lack thereof, in making the record. But in all honesty, Victory Spoils the Meat should never have been made any other way; any more polish would have ruined the vibe across all of its songs.
Ragged, catchy, snarky, tongue-in-cheek, political, feisty, raucous, and infectiously fun, Teeth of England make gnarly rock and roll that ingratiates itself to a variety of listeners, even paying homage to sports heroes. It’s bar band music, its skater music, availing itself to everyone from gnarly rockers to (sorry) hipsters.
Musically, it sounds timeless, jangly garage rock that echoes 60’s surf rock and 80’s rock bands that followed the first wave of punk rock. The band’s music doesn’t bellow from said garage, longing to get out, but sounds more like music whose tentacles are sneaking from under the door to find victims down some suburban street.
Teeth of England, across nine songs (and one haunting intro via Cameron Sinclair on “Rat”), sound dangerous, sound unhinged, and most of all, sound very fun. The four musicians are magnificent together, from Phillips’ sneering, carnival barker delivery to Moody and Sinclair’s guitar work that ranges from throbbing riffs to knife cutting jangly jabs. Add to it Burdick’s drumming that’s both punchy and like a heartbeat out of control.
Nearly every song feels like a good time gone bad that’s still a good time. Take “Get Along,” a tune like something Neil Young forgot to record, and whose narrative of things going wrong but making it no matter where you go. “Rabbit Fever” has a slightly slower groove, surly and patient, punctuated with Sinclair’s dirty harmonica and indifferent brief choruses. It’s a tune that likely sounds more gritty in the live setting.
“Do the Gasoline” mirrors it, with stomping rhythm, fuzzed out guitars and lyrics about the abandon of drinking. “Gettysburg” will be another perfect live song, unfurling with unrepentant energy. “Strike 4” has a superb hook and scratchy guitar that injects maybe the best the song here.
Victory Spoils the Meat is a repeat player, an album to blast from your speakers all summer long, and then for the rest of days. If I go to a party this summer and don’t hear this one playing amongst the din of conversation and yelling, I’ll be disappointed. Maybe disappointed further if we don’t hear more from Cameron Sinclair.