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Gum Takes Tooth
Mirrors Fold Daniel Ross , September 19th, 2014 09:27

Is it a rule of music that serenity must at some point be destroyed? If it is, the two noise-boffs of Gum Takes Tooth certainly play by it. Any prolonged sections of calm on their supreme, sensitive second LP, Mirrors Fold, have a corresponding Dresden of aural terror to erode the finer nuances of your hearing ability. The opening of the album, its title track, whirrs with a meditative, oscillating chant, the very model of that serenity. At around the two-minute mark, after the serenity has convinced you that no disruptions will be forthcoming, the balance of the universe is redressed with controls of the fart-synth set for the heart of the sun. It's this equality that defines Gum Takes Tooth. Rules are there to be broken, yes, but playing by them can produce objects of extreme, intricate beauty.  

The balance of assaulting and rubbing one's tummy aside, Gum Takes Tooth's approach is one of fairness - it just so happens that it's fairness within the context of two maniacs communing in a completely intuitive symmetry. In that early portion of the album, they measure their enthusiasm wonderfully, deploying it at the moment of maximum impact. So, after that first nine-minute odyssey through the pricklier end of noise, the likes of 'White Fear' and 'This Perfect Surface' evince a more thoughtful, even approach, and we are encouraged to consider rhythmic patterns as they fly past. On the latter, particularly, heavenly female vocals intercut with electronics that sound as if they've been squeezed painfully through a sieve like a top-notch tomato passata. 

It's not until 'Bone Weapon' that we properly rejoin a world of horrid, satisfying noise and, interestingly, riffs. Something resembling a sped-up Dylan Carlson folk smudge totters into life, but the percussion of Thomas Fuglesang ingeniously disrupts it whenever possible, establishing what one might wankishly call an anti-groove. Invention, pacing and the guts to disrupt a riff so brilliantly distils exactly why Gum Takes Tooth are so loveable - they've an impish compulsion to muck around with their creations but, crucially, not enough to make them unrecognisable. Where their previous album, 2011's Silent Cenotaph, was more cudgel-to-the-temple in its constant abandon, Mirrors Fold is a more tempered affair, which actually makes the moments of shocking violence all the more enjoyable.

Serenity, wherever it lurks on this album, is always given the destruction it deserves. Mirrors Fold is a beautiful bastard, completely ugly on first glance but blessed by immutable charms at its heart. Intricacies and meddlesome moments of technical flamboyance disappear in the din, cog-like ingredients of a supremely well-constructed work. Mirrors Fold relishes its formalism, its dedication to balance and control - and while its wildest moments might seem the product of an almost childish compulsion to throw shit at the walls, you can be sure that there's enough compositional prowess and manhandling on display to separate these two from the noise-rock pack. Superior, effective listening.