Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley
There is a screed that the three members of Baby Teeth should live by, even if it's one that's being handed to them now by a cold computer screen. It would wisely be something that would take two people to remove from the temperature and humidity-controlled glass case, protected by invisible laser beams and a security system that you'd install around Munch's "The Scream" somewhere in Oslo. It would take the two people for the heaviness of the paper and the density of the scroll and the ink.
Unrolling the brittle and valuable paper would take considerable strength but then when the logic upon the paper was revealed, the exertion's worth would never be questioned again. Every time a refocusing or a pick-me-up was needed - a moment to reattach with the reason that all this fuss and sacrifice was being paid - the scroll would once again be gladly brought back out, an easier option than scaling the mountaintop to seek out the Indian-seated, deeply wrinkled, all-knowing guru. Upon the paper would be the words, in ancient script spun into curlicues and banister shapes: "Thou must want to be bigger than big, as big as a life-sized map of the Himalayans. Thou must be flamboyantly big or not only will greatness be impossible, but it will be laughably thin and tinny, and feel like a clammy grope from a disgusting wino with smelly pants and a toothless smile. Greatness is making people want to get sweaty together, wanting to glitter and get gold. You will know it when you see it so get to work."
The screed will take just a few minutes to get all the way through and it will end abruptly, almost knocking the wind out of the bodies of all who read it, in scantily baked light. It rings loudly true for Abraham Levitan, Jim Cooper and Peter Andreadis, so much so that it filters into every one of the Chicago band's songs, which span the galleries of prog rock to glam rock to funk and rhythm and blues. It's a longer list, should you wish to make it that, but Baby Teeth go for the throat, the pectorals and for both different variations of crotch. It's a non-discriminatory brand of "big night" music with all of the underpinnings of what transpired through the day or the week that turned a person from regular person into a man on the hunt or a lady on the prowl, looking to sink some of the memories of displeasure roaming these parts.
The protagonists of these meaty songs are always acting out and upon the very primal urges of serving the self with whatever it deems that it needs at that very moment. It's animalistic, entertaining and sexy. Levitan puts on a cape and an air when he sings. It's of bigger britches and proud chest. It's of Mick Jagger and David Bowie swagger that reverberates for counties and counties, rattling dishes and drying glasses miles away from wherever he's standing at a microphone. The swagger doesn't stop there - with his words of hustlers, gamblers, Casanovas, muscle-y men, pin-up women, workhorses, fakers and dreamers (all with a shared composite of the standard, regular old person). It is perpetuated in the grind and bump of all that he, Cooper and Andreadis do with their instruments and their time. The music is thick with that swagger and that mood - where there should be feather boas framing all of the dips and turns, connecting the fuel to the glamorous fire. It's a swagger that flames and amazes and still, despite its best efforts, sometimes fizzles for the various characters that these three introduce us to. It's the real swagger.
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