Expose Review: Hunger's Teeth

Ever wonder what some of the classic progressive bands would sound like today had they maintained their edge and not grown lazy and comfortable and become caricatures of themselves ? Enter the 5UU's. Take the experimental rock spirit, add some influences in varying combinations from Henry Cow, Frank Zappa, Yes, The Beatles and Gentle Giant, mix it all together and send it into overdrive, and you might have some idea of where these guys are going. Their music is a constantly changing stream of ideas, very complex, with irregular time sigs and liberal use of disonnance within their melodic framework - yet it's all fairly accessible too, tied together by Bob Drake's Jon Anderson-like vocals. Even those already familiar with the band on their early releases Bel Marduk & Tiamat and Elements may be in for a surprise here as well, as this is a major step forward for them.

A trio of Sanjay Kumar (keys), David Kerman (drums,guitar,keys) and Bob Drake (vocals,bass,guitars,violin), Thomas DiMuzio is also credited with "electronic and computer generated sounds" and is responsible for some of the more experimental moments on the disc. Kumar and Kerman were both members of previous 5UU's incarnations, as well as U-Totem, and Drake was a member of Thinking Plague and Hail. Guesting on selected tracks are Suzanne Lewis (also of TP and Hail), James Grigsby (of U-Totem), and Michelle Bos. If you've ever wanted one disc that you could listen to over and over, and discover something new each time, this is it ! From the first notes of "Well, Not Chickenshit," through the experimental voice treatments on "Mangate," the mysterious cadence in "Geronimo," an out-of-place barber shop quartet on "The Shears," the Zappa-esque opening riff of "Bachelor Needle," Suzanne's vocal on "Equus," right out to the twisted and abrupt ending of "Traveler Waits For No One," this is an album that will demand repeated listenings. Hunger's Teeth gets my highest recommendation, and will definitely be among my top ten for 1994. —Peter Thelan