Grapetooth is the debut album from the Chicago based new-wave duo of the same name. It is a sweet and synthy album filled with new-wave eighties goodness. Slip on your high tops and get ready to dance. None of the tracks would feel out of place in an indie coming-of-age movie: “Imagine On” is the perfect backing track for a retro prom scene and “Mile After Mile” inspires calm introspection. It’s youthful and fun, reckless and carefree.
Grapetooth combines synth with an infectious drum machine to produce funky and earwormy hooks. There’s still a bedroom-pop, homemade sound which meshes well with the easygoing nature of the album – it’s meant to be enjoyed simply, without much hassle or ceremony. Even the more melancholy tracks, such as “Hallelujah” still feel light hearted, serving as a time to catch your breath from all the dancing you’ll be doing in between. The next track “Blood”, is an aggressively eighties, intensely danceable track has the hallmark deep bass sound, with a rhythmic, pulsing beat that starts from the beginning. It does away with any doubt of the influence of the eighties on this album.
Grapetooth’s strength definitely lies in funky and groovy songs. Closer “Together” is an absolute snooze of a track, especially after following “Blood”, which was such a banger. “Together” swaps out the synthpop sound for a folksy vibe, featuring a kazoo, handclaps, and a chorus of men singing in unison. It is as out of place as it sounds. However, this shortcoming is easily overlooked because of how fantastic the previous tracks are. Yes, the whole new-wave, New Order-inspired sound isn’t exactly original, but Grapetooth pulls it off skillfully. No one can fault them for making catchy music. It’s the kind of music to listen to for a quick and direct dopamine rush. They manage to capture exactly what makes eighties music so addictive and distill it into a solid 40 minute album. It’s a promising debut from a promising artist that seems to have figured out exactly what they want to do with their music.