Tooth – Mudlarking (Soft)


After what a five-year wait, Tooth have released third album Mudlarking – a bold double-album of rolling instrumentals and downtempo ditties. In the between time there have been plenty of live shows, a second solo album from Purdy, and Sir Robbo has been beavering away on beats for hip hop MCs. Tooth – and a host of guest players including prog veteran Daevid Allen from Gong and Soft Machine – nod equally to Secret Chiefs 3, Tortoise, Morricone, Can and Tuatara, but with a light, almost cartoonish edge at times. Mudlarking is a step up production-wise from the previous Tooth records and it is difficult to determine which instruments have been recorded acoustically or electronically, making for a lush and warm listen.

Many of the songs have an almost travelogue feel to them – ‘Avoiding the Road to Recovery’, for instance, which floats a winding, squirming melody over a head-noddingly addictive rhythm section. On the other hand, tracks like ‘Shift’ or ‘Monstrous Skies’ could easily be mistaken for My Bloody Valentine remixes, with their effected (and reworked) slivers of guitar. Throughout there is an influence of ambient electronic moods and low key hip-hop drum loops; indeed, the pool of styles and timbres is unusually diverse, which makes good of the premise of the album’s title – to search about the mud for objects of value. At times, though, in prog rock style, the use of electronic guitar sometimes seems a bit more dramatic than necessary.

Mudlarking’s strength is its balance of melody and texture. It is tasteful and exotic without being lazy even if the sprawling double album could have been trimmed back slightly.

Jon Tjhia.


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scissors for sparrow - abstract instrumental pop music. ii - made-up-just-then instrumental duo. text and melody - yes please. hello.

  • oh wow, i didn’t realise this was out, i am really looking forward to it!

  • peteg

    So am I! Where’s a good place to buy it? (Frigid?)

    I’m not sure slicker production is what Tooth needs; I still prefer the first release to the second. Bring back the boys having fun in the garage, I say…

  • robbo

    yo! it’ll be pressed in a few weeks. some distribution nightmares have held things back a bit – it should have been out by now, but what can ya do? looks like we might end up distributing the thing ourselves so it should be available in all kinds of low-key places and some specialist record shops. i think it’s our best album yet for sure – the suggestion that we could’ve trimmed it back a bit is probably fair but after nearly 5 years since the last album we decided to throw everything we had onto this one – different tunes for different folks – some will dig it all i’m sure. yeah and there is some over the top guitar but that was kinda the point of it, we had our prog heads on!

  • peteg

    Hey Robbo! Glad to know you’re still kicking along with this project. Thanks for the heads-up. Can you post a big fat notice on this blog when it’s cooked?

    Do you have any gig plans presently?

  • robbo

    it’s looking like it’ll see the light of day in early May now – i’ll keep y’all posted on that. there’ll be some shows to launch it for sure, nothing on the cards yet though. there’s a lot of guest players on this album so we’re gonna try and have a couple of special shows with as many of them playing live as possible – should be fun…stay tuned. oh, and thanks for your interest in this, it’s nice.

  • Pat

    Who the heck are Tooth? I have never heard of them?

  • Seb

    heh heh – go ask chris . . . i think you work with him. heh heh

  • I picked it up at Title in Surry Hills yesterday – nice work!

  • robbo

    well…it’s pressed and is now trickling into retail-land. i’m really happy with the package, alex ollo did a wonderful job on the design. anyway – it’s at ‘title’ on crown st. surry hills (near devonshire st.) and will start to make it’s way further afield in coming weeks. we’ll be doing our first live show in ages at frigid’s b’day/d’day – which we’re really looking forward to, expect an extended line-up of players for that show and a launch-proper not long after.

  • robbo

    oh yeah – i should mention that in australia it’s distributed by ‘fuse’ in case anyone needs to order it.

  • Seb

    And that’s a great reason to print off a 20% off voucher for Title . . .

  • Hey the show at Frigid’s d’day was a real treat. I’m a big fan of the first album so I rushed off to purchased the newbie. So far, it’s sprawling- there’s so much material on it! I need more time to become acquainted but I’m very happy with my purchase nonetheless.

  • Seb

    There is ANOTHER review of Mudlarking done for Cyclic by Bob Baker Fish.

  • brad

    multiple reviews? must be important.