Perhaps it's an over-used phrase and simplistic idiom, but the saying 'don't judge a book by its cover' always seems a useful statement. Especially in this instance. Excusing an album cover which looks like the irrelevant singer form the equally irrelevant Black Eyed Peas in drag, sophomore studio album from Melbourne hardcore lads House Vs Hurricane is simply impressive. That's an opinion that invites difference, but 'Crooked Teeth' is confident and well-formed. And that's a good starting point.
On face value 'Crooked Teeth' has very similar and typical metalcore structures. Breakdowns, chugging riffs and driving choruses. And, while House Vs Hurricane are very standard in their musical approach, the tunes just sound fresh and consistent. Where in very similar circumstances we'd label this as derivative, full-length number two instead just feels right.
'Crooked Teeth' could've easily matched it's title and been disjointed. The musical pessimist would argue the signs were there. 2010's solid debut album meant the ability to match and succeed was harder and the effects brought upon by the departure of lead singer Chris Dicker and exit of keyboardist Joey Fragione could've equally altered the sound to the band's detriment. Thankfully, these are nothing more than minor sub-plots as 'Crooked Teeth' is entertaining and flowing.
Sure, there's an abundance of breakdowns, but where a band like Emmure would labour and struggle with forming anything vaguely coherent from them, House Vs Hurricane instead provide songs that make you wan't to hit repeat on the stereo. It's not to say this release is without fault, but just acknowledging that enjoyment can be found in simplicity.
The apparent element from an initial listen is that 'Crooked Teeth' is more straightforward harcore/metalcore/call-it-what-you-will-core. The electronic interludes and passages are gone. '40 Deep' begins loudly and aggressively, with 'Blood Knuckles' that mix of melody and aggressiveness. Although, the keyboard elements are gone, Ryan McLerie's clean-sung vocals are retained and again utilised. 'Big Trouble' and 'Lost World' are similar in regards to intensity. 'Moon Shine' is the first change of pace on the release, with a softer, more melodic styling. Main single 'Get Wrecked' is the perfect track to showcase what 'Crooked Teeth' is about. 'Headcold's chorus is a highlight too.
This studio album almost makes our assertions about 'Perspectives' seem overly generous and perhaps premature. This is a progression and step forward. Enough said really.
House Vs Hurricane have stepped out of that angst, almost juvenile period of musical infancy where bands just focus on making their sound as abrasive and heavy as possible; without any care for substance. Instead, now, they have seemingly taken a deep breath, thought things over and carefully constructed 11 songs that continue to strengthen the band's appeal. In the most neutral, objective and dispassionate way possible, 'Crooked Teeth' is just a simple and engaging affair. Why try to overcomplicate things further?