Alt rock with no bass. And no dictionary.
What is going on here? Not a clue. The CD arrives without a case of any sort, so it was lucky to arrive. But we do have the CD cover, for some reason, and a very bizarre booklet. Instead of band information, this booklet is full of random pictures, like kids with weapons and a parrot perched on a heart. And appalling spelling and grammar. Nope, still no clue.
Fortunately the music is a lot more straightforward. I Heart Hiroshima are Matthew Somers (guitar and vocals), Susie Patten (drums and vocals), and Cameron Hawes (guitar and vocals), and the band formed at a house party in Brisbane. They are, apparently, the next big thing in Australia. And you can see why. Their brand of bass-less alt indie pop is infectious and simple. It was simply made for student radio. ‘Punks’ in particular has a memorable, singalong quality to it.
The male/female vocals are sharp and unpolished; a far cry from bands like Alphabeat who champion mixed vocals. In fact, there’s something unfinished about the whole record. And I’m not talking about lack of a case. ‘Teef’ is a curiosity: musically surprisingly accomplished for two guitars and drums, but the lyrics are plain disturbing “I’ve got teef/ you’ve got none”. Unfortunately pronouncing ‘teef’ like that makes them sound more like they’re the ones without them.
A lot of the songs are very much of the same mould, repetitive, simple riffing and half-shouted vocals. But it’s indie-rock of the NME variety, so we can predict they’ll have their fifteen minutes off the back of this record. Think The Raveonettes or Sleater Kinney. Not quite art-rock, but not full-on punk, however much ‘Got Bones?’ edges in that direction.
There’s nothing technically wrong with ‘Tuff Teef’. It’s accomplished, with plenty of fight and an established sound. But it’s difficult to warm to the record, and I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because it varies so little musically, and it’s hard to see where they’d take the formula in the future. But right now ‘Tuff Teef’ is a good example of jangly, simple vocal-led pop-rock.