Philly's Loose Tooth deliver cozy '90s alt-rock nostalgia, combining math rock, post-hardcore and grunge on their second album, Big Day. The album has a lot going on, but always keeps its cool.
Just the right amount of looseness, both in their songwriting and delivery, results in something less scrappy and more unified than the band's debut. A grungier version of Pavement, Loose Tooth revel in lo-fi, their sound off-kilter, peppered with a Built to Spill kind of playfulness ("Free Skate") and an understated emo sense of sincerity ("Fish Boy").
They've also amped up the reverb here to create a thicker sound, so when the going gets chunky, clunky and math-y, bands like North of America also come to mind, especially on tracks like "L Blu." Highlight "Garlic Soup" is atmospheric and angular, echoing Autolux's Future Perfect, while the soaring "Free Skate" features washed out harmonies. The sentimental stomp of "Roach Motel" both drags you down and pulls you up.
Big Day is like an oddball friend, predominantly introverted, but with sporadic extroverted outbursts. It establishes Loose Tooth as slacker maestros, their vibe oscillating slyly between downtrodden dreariness and upbeat optimism. (Lame-O Records / Father Daughter Records)