LIVE: Sink Ya Teeth @ The Eagle Inn | 23.10.18
Even when getting lost down its maze-like industrial side streets seems all but inevitable, Salford’s The Eagle Inn prevails as a warm respite from the snappy autumn evenings. The twisty, linear corridors are packed through, with the distant hum of krautrock emanating from the evening’s cosy side-room venue – oddly enough, the Peel-championed and only relatively recently reformed Dutch post-punkers Eton Crop serve as tonight’s support, attracting more than their fair share of wizened musos.
The band’s three-strong guitars, plus bass and a drumkit, almost entirely fill out the stage, which is mirrored in the thickly-layered, reverberating chords – it’s an assault on the senses, with an eerie, sparse melodica melody and clattering percussion providing a semblance of structure in the delicate, twitchy interplay. Songs such as ‘Gay Boys on the Battlefield’ and ‘Wake Up’ marry rattling garage grooves with dense, socio-political lyrics, raising both a number of eyebrows and a fair share of spirits.
Maria Uzor and Gemma Cullingford, who make up the irrepressible Sink Ya Teeth, then take the stage, grinning at various punter mates and looking unsure with what to do with the limited space they’ve been provided. Their set is heralded when the room suddenly bursts into life, with unfolding layers of pre-recorded synth and percussion sparking a dance-ability that wasn’t there previously; the bouncy opener ‘Freak 4 the Kick’ and the icily minimal ‘If You See Me’ set the tone for the band’s wide-ranging energy – from the rigorous to the more subdued – all linked by a singular incessant groove.
Cullingford’s driving basslines act as the consistent anchor for Uzor’s flailing synth patterns and ethereal vocals, alongside the forceful rigidity of the backing track – this reaches a rhythmic apex in the single ‘Substitutes’, in which Uzor picks up a curio guitar to join in with a spiky staccato line. The pair begin to beam when proudly referring to this as their “third Manchester gig” (before hastily correcting to “Salford”) and have an air of genuine excitement to be playing most of their debut album; the crowd seem to be quite taken with their earnestness and show it with a constant sea of excitable movement.
The band plough on with squelchy synth arpeggi and grungy, industrial beats, pairing them with wry lyrical parts and a rhythmic marching. The track ‘Glass’, a self-professed nod to Giorgio Moroder, bounds effortlessly until reaching a climax of pulsating synth bass in a glorious ‘I Feel Love’ homage, before slowly scrubbing to a stripped-down pulse – the bass, synth and guitar are then reworked into a densely-layered spiral, with each component individually returning one-by-one for a thoroughly engaging climax. After gingerly thanking the crowd, the pair share a warm onstage hug, their musical and ideological chemistry clearly self-evident – and kept in store for their no doubt countless future audiences.