Dental Denial, by Beth Israel, oozes darkness and mystery. It is gloriously left field. If you hold disdain for the commonplace, this is for you. If you long to be taken somewhere otherworldly, enjoy.
The sonic landscape is hard to define. But this is a good thing. Dental Denial doesn’t sound like most music out there. Or, put another way, it sounds more out there than most music. If I had to use a comparison to help me describe the vibe, I’d say that Dental Denial is to music what David Lynch’s film Eraserhead is to cinema. It’s lo-fi, melancholic, and there’s a lot going on in the shadows.
Swampy guitars, gritty guitars, synthesised sounds, industrial noise, slow grooves, danceable beats, distorted birdsong, running water, curious lyrics, spoken words, whispers, chants and ethereal vocals all fuse to deliver a musical experience that is wondrously weird. There’s humour and there’s menace. This is magical stuff.
Standout track? Tommy Boy.
The digital version of the album includes the track listing above. But if, like me, you decide to purchase the album on vinyl – available from dulltools.bigcartel.com – you’ll get two additional tracks: New Year’s Fade (Dearly Departed) and Monica. Do yourself a favour and get it on vinyl. Not only will you enjoy more music, but the cover art, by Amanda Tipps, deserves to be seen on a large format.
So what do we know about Beth Israel? Not a lot, really. Data on the band is almost non-existent. There are two members, Zack Claxton and Ramsey Eddins, and they come from Austin (United States). They’ve got a presence on Facebook, Soundcloud, Youtube and Bandcamp, but don’t go visiting those sites expecting to find background information. These dudes keep a low profile. They don’t do selfies.
Dental Denial was written, recorded and mixed by Zack and Ramsey, and released by Dull Tools, the label headed by Andrew Savage of Parquet Courts. Prior to Dental Denial, the band released a cassette, also on Dull Tools. Check out the label’s other bands at dulltools.bandcamp.com – they are all pretty fine and dandy.