A rock band with roots in Wet Leg country, Isle of Wight’s Jo-Jo & The Teeth explode out of the gate with their debut LP ‘No More Good News,’ an album of great promise, solid execution, and limitless potential.
Stream: ‘No More Good News’ – Jo-Jo & The Teeth
A band who cut their canines on the south coast of England have released their high octane debut album.
Independently put out in early December 2022, No More Good News follows on the heels of Jo-Jo & The Teeth’s summer single of the same name — a track written in homage to David Bowie and Tom Petty. The art rockers, comprised of two Canadians and three ‘Caulkheads’ (natives of the Isle of Wight), cite influences from Queen and Fleetwood Mac to the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith.
Album opener “My Babe” has a reticent nature which hints at the mealier strains to come – subtle dissident undertones tapping at the shell of rebellion without fully threatening the yolk.
It’s irresistibly catchy, and has its hook (“ooh a oh a uh-oh”), which foreshadows the direction of the LP.
It is crystal clear from the get-go that frontwoman Jo-Jo O’Donoghue is the enlivening nub of the band.
She begins to flex her vocal dexterity during the title track “No More Good News,” which gushes with mellifluence and sees the spellbinding siren directing her trill closer to its limits. Alluring harmonies guide the song to its anarchic, hostile denouement.
“HellHound” is a grittier off-cut, replete with a huskier resonance. A tale of lost love, it’s contemplative and paranoid, with a squeeze of acrimony stirred in for good measure.
“We’re Just Animals” is arguably the most euphonious track on the release. Intertwining laissez-faire verses with, fittingly, animalistic choruses, there’s something Clapton-esque about the six-string solos which underpin it. “MoonChild” is a peaceful canticle which plods along pleasantly, building up a head of steam before returning to a more tranquil, bookended cessation.
“Is This the Dream?” oozes with melancholy which brings elegant duelling guitars to the fray. A track which is sure to be a grower, it’s a tale of consenting to one’s fate, settling for a life of compromise while maintaining a flicker of previous desire: “I’m never going to live because I believed in you instead.” It’s as subtle as a mule’s kick to the groin, delivered courtesy of hyperactive axe handlers, their guitars wailing as if being tortured.
“Lungs” is the first cut that feels relatively skippable, but its placement offers a breather before the LP’s sterling finale. One of the album’s zeniths, debut single release “Don’t Get Too Heavy” gets the closing section underway with its upbeat, forward driving sound – reminiscent of early ‘90s Moistboyz.
Anthemic, uplifting, and with oodles of sing-along pop hooks and crescendos, the track is intimately rooted in old fashioned guitar rock and roll. “Don’t Get Too Heavy” accomplishes its intention by… not getting too heavy. Instrumental flurries carry more than a suggestion of Kiss, and the vocals are deftly precise.
Penultimate track “A Hungry Love” sticks with the album long arc of erstwhile love, proffering, “I gotta have you honey, and I want all your money, I leave you with nothing but your name…” The juxtaposition of that ‘f*k you’ narrative with accompanying halcyon melody give an incongruence which adroitly incapsulates the feeling of lost affection.
No More Good News feels like the launch, rather than the destination for this tenacious quintet.
No doubt Jo-Jo O’Donoghue is a force of nature, and The Teeth – comprised of guitarist Rylan Woods, guitarist Keir Hicks, bassist Max Battista, and drummer Andy Barker – provide an accomplished backdrop for her versatile vocals (the molars to her incisors).
It will get heavier, but this is an engaging overture to a hopefully lengthy playbook.
One suspects we’ve only scratched the surface of the band’s potential with this efficacious debut release.
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