New Music: Motherhood’s ‘Baby Teeth’

Motherhood have just birthed their heaviest album, ‘Baby Teeth’, and it has arrived kicking and screaming.

As per the special brand of curated weird that Motherhood has so carefully cultivated, ‘Baby Teeth’ has been created in their image, provided that image is one of a massively obese reptilian beast sashaying about in a moo-moo whilst over-indulging in Mai Tais because it doesn’t care that it’s only her cousin’s place overlooking the Saint John harbour, it’s all the vacation she’s going to get this summer. It is heavy, and weird. It might be sweet at times, but it’s full of teeth, and not above shouting at you, especially if you aren’t quick with the drinks, and ready to rub her bunions. It’s Zappa-esque swamp-rock meets basement rock meets lounge-metal, and a few things we don’t have names for.

Worked together in a marathon sprint, and recorded by Corey Bonnevie of Monpolized Records and Little You Little Me,  two weeks prior to entering the studio, the album didn’t exist in any form.  Last year the band had been swearing off any writing until 2020, and now there’s this thing hatching before our eyes. Penelope Stevens says that despite the surprise arrival of the album, she’s still a proud mother, “It’s like asking if you wish your unplanned child had never been born! I mean, I guess some people would say yes…. But I think she’s perfect just the way she is. It’s quite apt though. If you wait until you’re ‘ready’ to have the kid, you’re not going to get the kid you could have had. Same with an album. If we had waited or taken more time, we would have a totally different thing.”

“It’s about New Brunswick. Kind of. It’s a story whose characters live in NB. It’s a bit about growing up, both as a band, as the characters, and sonically.” Though part of the Motherhood canon of storied albums, and another chapter for their multitude of alter-egos to manifest themselves in, Stevens explains that ‘Baby Teeth’ was something of a breech birth, arriving melody first. “Brydon wrote the lyrics but I sequenced and mixed the album without them. So I was able to sort the story in a way that made sense for me, but I didn’t see the storyline until it was being sent to be mastered. So I guess nobody knew the story until we got the masters back. It fell into place – not accidentally, but subconsciously I guess.”

The resulting monster is a good example of what Motherhood do best, with the bass and drums all directly projected into your head and the vocals being shouted from the bathroom down the hall, or as Stevens would tell us, they nailed it. “Perfect. Yeah we mixed from the drums down; they’re definitely the instrument that’s most key. ‘Baby Teeth’ is much more like ‘Problems’, but slightly more produced and a bit more unhinged than ‘Diamonds & Gold’. They’re each so intertwined with the memories of that time that they’re special for different reasons. I know that ‘Diamonds & Gold’ was well produced and received, but the raunchiness of ‘Problems’ has a personal appeal. ‘Baby Teeth’ is kind of a halfway point, production-wise.”

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