Album Review: American Teeth // We Should Be Having Fun

Recently named as one of Alternative Press’ ‘100 Artists You Need to Know’, American Teeth – the alter ego of Elijah Noll – brings relentless energy to a pop-punk and synth-infused debut that’s laced with surprisingly vulnerable lyrics.

Pop-punk has been enjoying something of a renaissance lately, and American Teeth’s debut is a testament to that. With production from Colin Brittain (A Day To Remember, All Time Low, early 5 Seconds of Summer), and an opening slot for The Maine at Los Angeles’ The Fonda last week, those influences are peppered throughout his album, We Should Be Having Fun.

A defiant, youthful angst dominates the opening half – tracks like “Glue” and “Barred Out” promise to go hard at future live shows, while “Tongue” feels reminiscent of Avicii, who worked with Brittain in 2015. “SICK”, a collaboration with phem and DE’WAYNE, then marks a sonic shift to include more synths – a ‘cyborg’ versatility that Elijah (who has a mechanical heart valve) says is a reflection of himself.

As its name suggests, a lot of We Should Be Having Fun grew from the lethargy of lockdown. In particular, “Kickflip” was inspired by Elijah’s nighttime trips to the deserted skate park, where he explained that “everything felt vacant” during the pandemic. He added: “I felt like everyone was feeling this emptiness and decided to write ‘Kickflip’ as a way to project a positive outcome despite being in a rough mental state”.

That awareness of mental health permeates through the album: Elijah dabs the breaks on for “Gonna Be Okay”, stripping back production to deliver a determinedly optimistic message; on “One Of Those Days”, he’s similarly forward-looking. “Everything was good / I was on my shit / I’ll be better soon / and get back to it” he sings – a hope that many will be clinging to as life goes back to normal.

American Teeth refuses to stay within one genre. Rather, his pop-punk vocals and alt-pop synths create their own sound that’s underpinned by an endearing lyricism, and We Should Be Having Fun shows all of that off.

Rating

American Teeth’s We Should Be Having Fun is available to stream and download now.

Author avatar
Caitlin Chatterton

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