Album of the week: February 9th – Teether

February 9th 2024

Metallica’s fifth, self titled record, commonly referred to as The Black Album, was a major turning point for the band. Citing feelings of ‘musical insecurity’ towards their trademark maximalist, thrash sound, the band moved towards one that was more polished, with a focus on melody and production. The Black Album was both bold in direction yet, in the eyes of many fans, disappointingly ‘safe’ sonically, as Metallica were launched into stratospheric new commercial success.

Teether’s fifth solo record, It Must Be Strange to Not Have Lived, described by the rapper as his ‘own Metallica Black Album’ shares that record’s desire for metamorphosis. But while Metallica’s record pushed the band and the metal genre towards a more radio- friendly sound, It Must Be Strange To Not Have Lived is Teether burrowing deeper into his dark, hazy universe, cementing his place at the vanguard of underground hip hop.

A ‘young elder’ of the local scene, there’s both a weariness and wisdom to Teether across the  It Must Be Strange…, each word doled out in a careful meter, as if to be considered with utmost importance. Through vivid imagery and black humour he provides an insight into his inquisitive mind, constantly weighing scattered observations and interactions, searching his way through a foggy path.

Playing guitar on most of the tracks, and sampling on Roland SP-404, Teether chops and screws sounds from across his deep discography and range of musical projects. Genres like metal, dub and footwork are scattered across the sludgy, scuzzy world of It Must Be Strange and resurrected as a new, unique soundscape. It both perfectly encapsulates his trademark, discombobulated sound, and allows him to chart new experiments in song structure and vocal melodies. 

Speaking about the record, Teether says ‘No one but the traditional custodians and First Nations people of Australia have any real connection to this place…I think we have to represent that sense of disconnection in the music we make.’  It Must Be Strange To Not Have Lived is the sound of an artist on the true cutting edge, in deep consideration and conversation with his place in the world around him.

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