Published Sep 09, 2016The latest from Australia's Teeth & Tongue proves that the project's Jess Cornelius has had a wine-like career: it just keeps getting better as time passes. With one foot planted firmly in synth-pop and the other in her characteristic guitar-driven rock, her latest album, Give Up on Your Health, is a testament to Cornelius' evolving artistry.
The album's more electronic tack is immediately apparent on the opening title track, heavily underscored by dark new-wave synths that, paired with Cornelius' poetic, part-abstract and part-anecdotal lyrics, bring a strangely satisfying sense of malaise.
Certain tracks do flash back to Teeth & Tongue's previously rockier style, providing a solid anchor that makes it impossible to write the album off as just an exercise in synth experimentation: "Do Harm" embodies the ambivalent rock sound Cornelius pushed on her last album Grids with a few electronic touches, and "Dianne," easily the album's heaviest track, offers a heavy and more bitter version of Strokes-esque guitar lines.
Of the more electronic offerings on the album, "Small Towns" is easily the biggest departure from Cornelius' established sound, with a thudding beat that nods directly at R&B — the soaring vocals help pull off what could be a risky track. Those vocals could be better showcased on other tracks but, perhaps to avoid treading into electro-pop territory, Cornelius doesn't use her booming pipes as much here as she has in the past, and it's a disappointing omission.
Elsewhere, Cornelius' predilection for sonic patterning tires on some tracks — "When We Met" is repetitive and exhausting, and while "Are You Satisfied" has slow jam potential, it's cyclical and not striking. But these are minor blemishes on an exceptional work of art. (Captured Tracks)