Duo Inga Calstrom and Leck Fischer were discovered by producer Mike Mason in a club in the small Swedish town of Sveg. Unimpressed by the entertainment on offer, Mason was on his way out. “A monstrous bass line rabbit punched me in the back of the head and a voice made me weak at the knees” he said later. He was stopped in his tracks and witnessed “The best performance I’d seen in years”. Returning home to Oxfordshire, Mason lost no time in flying Calstrom and Fischer over to record their first album American Teeth.

Like a two year old on a sugar rush, the songs on American Teeth fidget and jitter and refuse to stay still. Opening track Bass And Guns moves from treated piano to echoed vocals to crashing drums and dirty bass. Any of these might be samples or actual instruments. They are, it transpires, actual instruments. Calstrom’s vocals emerge with a soulful, bluesy edge, simultaneously growling and whelping. A sub sonic electro bass line takes over, followed swiftly by brass stabs. The track shudders to a climax and stalls. The electro bass recovers, accompanied by a reggae beat and more brass. Bass, vocals, drums and brass fight it out to the bitter end until the track collapses in a post-climactic slump. One track gone and I am exhausted already.

Fischer and Calstrom both handle keyboards and guitars while The Cure’s Jason Cooper covers drum duties. Jim Hunt who has worked with both Primal Scream and Amy Winehouse provides the brass and Lucy Wilkins (Florence & The Machine and Radiohead) leads the string section. Calstrom’s voice is an extraordinary thing. Much less mannered than Bjork; much more soulful than Alison Goldfrapp. “Discipline me” she purrs on the song of the same name, making it sound like a threat rather than a request. Crystal Pianos starts with sampled vocals that slowly deteriorate and then disintegrate. Electro beats are replaced by drums and gospel piano chords. Bass and organ support southern fried vocals until the deteriorating samples re-emerge and take over again.

Like a David Lynch movie, American Teeth makes perfect sense but only on its own terms. What do you think of when you think of American teeth? Flawless? Even? Dazzlingly white? Superhand urge you to think again.

John Scott

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