Necking – Cut Your Teeth

“It was way hotter in your memory.” is a line that stabs to the heart of perceived reality, and replaces self-projection with actual truth. Coming in sequence to “Can’t make me cum / so I made you leave” this kind of double, then triple blow is found all through Necking’s debut album Cut Your Teeth. Self-determinism, drive, and doing away with the bullshit is revealed at almost every corner.

Cut Your Teeth is an album that carries a certain kind of menace. But only for those that deal in less than admirable values. If you’re a decent, respectful person there’s very little to fear. Stray from the ideals of Necking, and they’ll take issue. Thankfully.

Throughout the nine tracks the Vancouver quartet express a string of deeply personal truths; the lessons they’ve learned from trusting the wrong people, being mislead by others. The album could also be named ‘Enough of this Shit’ – and then a list of events, lies, frustrations and mediocrity that have driven the band to distraction.

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But wait. Cut Your Teeth is not an album defined entirely by combat. There’s humor, and a healthy, sometimes self-deprecating wit It’s true, tracks like ‘Big Mouth’ pour energy into dismantling the wrong-doers and those devoid of basic decency. However, tracks like ‘Drag me out’ and ‘Go Getter’ point to the personal failings, and aspirations of the narrator.

Necking are smart in that they address behaviors more than people. Targets are taken down for what they do, not for who they are. The revulsion felt at being less than authentic is refreshing, and this cross-hair fixes on the inner landscape too. Being ‘dragged out’ of her own self-pity Hannah Karen realizes that she too has been less than real with herself. This kind of honesty is extraordinarily vulnerable, and welcomes in the listener – it encourages engagement in the fight against all things not true. This ‘all of our shit stinks’ approach is surprisingly rare at the moment. Necking represent themselves well by admitting this type of intimate truth.

Putting a keen ear on production values there’s cleverness to the space that’s been preserved between a band who clearly celebrate their own chemistry. We’re told that the band formed before they even start playing music with one another. So there’s a real sense that they were determined to maximize their enjoyment of the studio. There’s no fear of volume, and if there’s a dial for ‘fucking massive sound’ Necking lean on that button more than others. At times bass-riffs roll speakers off the shelf. You have to deliver this thing with volume, and the physical effects are felt. However, it’s not an album without range or dynamism. Stuff this loud rarely delivers the vocal clarity, or celebration of loose riffs as are heard on Cut Your Teeth. Clearly Necking are a band that studied hard into all those constituent elements that made their heroes great. Guitars, and purposefully triggered snares add surprising textures beneath the main body of movement.

Cut Your Teeth is surprising, serious and often times well humored. It sits with a catalog of recent punk releases that naturally recalibrate the genre to meet with contemporary demands. It’s brash and bawdy and frankly quite brilliant. Necking, with their debut, have secured a near-flawless victory.

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