Singer and multi-instrumentalist Nate Bech doesn’t stay in one place for very long. Employed as a seasonal backcountry ranger, Bech has lived in in various places including Oregon, Tucson, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. Recording under the name Exit the President, Bech wrote his hauntingly symphonic debut Teeth during a three-month isolated stint in a remote cabin in Idaho. Aside for not seeing another soul for this three-month period, Teeth was also recorded at a time when Bech had recently left his partner of five years and fallen in love with someone else. And if that wasn’t enough his father was nearing his last days.
With all this going on its no wonder Teeth has such a desolate tone to its painful seven-song oeuvre. The title song opens the album. It begins slow and haunting with Bech singing his lyrics in a mumbled whisper. Then suddenly “Teeth” opens up with pounding drums and searing guitar riffs. Next comes the eerie and melodic “Memories” which recalls OK Computer era Radiohead. Bech’s vocals, high-pitched at times and layered create a sense of atmosphere. This sense of foreboding lingers on into the country tinged trance-pop “Limits.”
Things get a little less trance as Bech opts for a little more drum and bass, the actual drum kit and bass guitar that is on the percussion heavy “Cold Fire,” a trend which he continues with great aplomb on “Dance to Kill Your Plans,” in which the drums figure heavily going from up front to muffled without much warning. The rim shots and ethereal Thom Yorke styled vocals continue on the sparseness of “Lost,” which by this time one gets the idea that this record serves more as therapy than anything else.
Passion and pain can often end up clouding judgment and isolation doesn’t do much to help anything either. Teeth is a very personal record for Nate Bech. The songs are well crafted, though perhaps a little too similar throughout, but they sound good as does Bech’s vocals. However Teeth never becomes very personal to the listener, which is something Bech may want to consider for his next venture.
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