Milwaukee natives Devils Teeth are eclectic. I know this because their album, Suki Yaki Hot! swerves stylistically all over the place like a happy drunk at the wheel over the course of it’s thirty five minute duration.
Nominally the band take their cues from sixties surf and psychedelic rock – this is most evident on the excellent Death Is Nimble, which sounds far more like the work of Californians rather than denizens of Wisconsin. However elsewhere the band are harder to pin down – or, indeed, pigeonhole.
Occasionally a name will flit across the listener’s ears as a song goes about its business – Queens of the Stone Age during the otherwise pleasant The Junction Street Eight Tigers, for instance – leading to the notion that you’ve got the measure of the band. But then they jag off at a tangent and remind you that you couldn’t be more wrong.
So the strutting Dirty Tricks fuses The Sonics and The Hives whilst Party Shark Shake adds a little unhinged psychobilly piquancy to the mix. You can see the axis of evil musical genius the three band members rotate around for sure – it’s just impossible to know what’s coming next…
Jet Jaguar adds a punked-up saxophone to the otherwise straight ahead surf groove and the punk continues on the spiky Who’s Laughing Now which amps up the camp and ends up sounding like a celebrity death match between The B52s and the Dead Kennedys. Needless to say that’s a winning combination in my book.
Quite clearly you could play spot the influence ad nauseam whilst listening to Suki Yaki Hot!, and whilst it’s true that the album draws heavily on a plethora of well-worn musical tropes it would be a disservice to Devils Teeth to write them off as mere retro copyists. There’s a fresh edge to everything the band does, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a more enjoyable listen anytime soon, so get involved!