Sharptooth – Transitional Forms
Released: July 10th 2020
Lauren Kashan | Vocals
Keith Higgins | Guitar
Lance Donati | Guitar
Peter Bruno | Bass
Matt Hague | Drums
Sharptooth are the 5-piece hardcore outfit on the cusp of dropping their sophomore album, Transitional Forms. Led by the formidable Lauren Kashan, these guys have closed in on a visceral and emotionally-charged pocket of the hardcore sound. They display a total mastery of their lane: organic and authentic. There is little in the way of experimentation, but every mood they shoot for, they hit expertly.
It’s the level of thought and interconnectedness to this record that sets it apart from the hardcore crowd. The ensemble relationships are strong, and it’s evident in the compositions. Lauren’s lyrical delivery is tightly woven with the riffing violence of the band, playing off one another. This honesty in performance is a big part to the experience of Transitional Forms. There is real nuance and character to these recordings, a great balance of modern production and live performance. Lauren’s command of her voice is masterful and emotive. There is an urgency and sincerity to her delivery that seizes you, and makes you want to understand her message. There is always a real passion underlying her screams, whether it be a burning fury, or a deeply existential hurt.
Transitional Forms is pretty ambitious conceptually. We follow Lauren through a struggle with hopelessness, to a gradual development of conviction. This journey facilitates an exploration into a contrasting set of ideals and mindsets. We begin steeped in cynicism and disenchantment. The opening track, ‘Say Nothing (in the Absence of Content)’, is a brash and intensely self-aware rage against meaning – quite contradictory to the remainder of the album. Over the subsequent tracks, we follow Lauren through a dark and visceral landscape. We are brought into the disarray of her inner turmoil with scathing lines: “I would never speak to someone else / The way that I talk to myself”.
As bleak as the record starts, it’s fascinating to watch Lauren’s mindset begin to shift. At under a total of 30 minutes, it happens fast. By track 5, ‘Evolution’, Lauren’s backbone has emerged, and she develops her conviction by engaging in social issues. An angry and brutally honest focus on social justice begins to propel her through change – from the scathing social commentary on ‘Evolution’, to the critique of gender roles on ‘Manic Pixie Death Dream’: “Born to perform all emotional labour / Use me till I fucking die”.
Transitional Forms is an exceptional listen. There are some brooding tracks like ‘Life on the Razors Edge’ reminiscent of some of the darker tracks on Slipknot’s IOWA – the nurturing of a softer sound, dripping in subtle violence. Sharptooth have stepped up their game and are an outfit to be watched closely. They seem to have a great vision.
Sharptooth – Transitional Forms tracklisting
- Say Nothing (in the Absence of Content)
- Mean Brain
- Life on the Razor’s Edge
- The Grey
- The Southern Strategy
- M.P.B.D (Manic Pixie Bitch Dream)
- Nevertheless (She Persisted)