“Cockroach Brain” is the first video and single off Mantooth’s latest record: OU81Tooth. Recorded at Chop Shop in Boise by Andy Agenbroad, it’s all about the drooping yelps and the slushing guitars. It’s a lovely racket, and no one makes a lovely racket quite like Mantooth, these days. It’s arguably the highest praise a glam punk-rock band can receive. The song is a filthy sounding dirge that builds towards heavy overdriven moments. It’s all chugs and symbols and swirls. It’s stomping music. Stomping music for people who like to stomp.
Mantooth’s strengths are a sheaf of wicked smart one-liners and an equal proportion of killer riffs. With razor-sharp, muscular force and not-so-subtle messages they’re ready to beat down the masses. They do not hold back in their music nor in their lyrics. They rock like the world is ending tomorrow. The group’s raw aggression starts from the opening bar of “Cockroach Brain” and carries on right until the final lines.
Douglas Taylor’s buzzing riffs remain at the center of the band’s sound. He handles them like a hot potato – never wanting to grip them for too long and always keeping them on the move. With those riffs as an anchor, Jay Jeargan Angst on drums and Bob Davis on bass, relentlessly drive the engine room, while Todd Dunnigan on keyboards adds more sonic diversity than might first appear. Pushing things further, is lead vocalist John Francis Edsall, better known as J Mantooth, who tests a number of different combinations of sneering sounds.
In the current musical climate of computerized clones and booty queens, Mantooth sound like a bunch of very smart misfits, uninterested in compromising their music or their acerbic black humor. It’s an appealing outlook on music and life.