Necking’s album Cut Your Teeth moves at blistering speeds after a slow start. Clocking in at just under 23 minutes, the nine track album is full of emotion. Urgency flows through it, as it hopes that you get what it is trying to say. Though there is little time to wonder about what is being played, there is a visceral reaction to the sound.
Cut Your Teeth is an angry record. The lyrics are mostly short and often provocative, if not downright antagonistic to the listener. The antagonism is heightened by the frequent use of an unnamed “you” in many of the lyrics. Though not speaking directly to the listener, it nevertheless feels like it is at times. The shock of the lyrics is felt even through a first time listen. Startling metaphors and images are casually given throughout the album, though there is a purpose to every image. They point out problems of society and the struggles that the band faces. The sometimes choppiness of the lyrics along with its edgy, extended images adds to the sense of anger felt in the album.
Driven by a deep bass guitar, it anchors the songs. Laid on top of it are almost lo-fi guitars and vocals. The vocals are frantic and unpolished. Sometimes monotone, other times surprisingly melodic, Cut Your Teeth is never bland and despite the quick pace, there is never a sense that anything is missing. Some songs, like “Big Mouth” or “Habbo Hotel” start slow. Many have intros, outros, and breakdowns. The album just moves fast to make up for lost time as it hammers you with noise and lyrics.
Whether it is the guitars or vocals, some of the songs sound very familiar. “Boss” and “Rover” are examples of the retro sound found throughout the album. At times surfy, at other times punkish or B-52’s-like, Cut Your Teeth constantly seems to be on the brink of something you know and can recognize. In a way it is comforting, but on a certain level the familiarity is jarring. Being unable to place the source of the familiar sensation, you’re left with only a sense of confusion that is accentuated by the tone of the album.
Cut Your Teeth is rough around the edges, but that is the point. The lo-fi buzzes and other noises add to the genuineness of the album. The shocking part about it is that it deals with real issues which are felt through listening. There are a number of good tracks littered throughout the album. “Boss,” “Rover,” and “Go Getter” are all quick paced tunes that are some examples of the bright side the album has to offer. Cut Your Teeth is punk, but it never needs to proclaim itself as such or try to convince you of anything.