ARTIST : Sharptooth
ALBUM : Transitional Forms
LABEL : Pure Noise Records
RATING : 9.5/10
WORDS : Chris Prenatt
When Baltimore-based hardcore quintet Sharptooth first hit the scene in 2017 with their debut Clever Girl, not many batted an eye towards them. Sure it was heavy and kicked ass, but it felt like the world wasn’t ready for the messages that the group, in this case frontwoman Lauren Kashan, wrote.
Three years later, they’ve returned angrier than ever and have numerous messages that won’t fall on deaf ears this time. Transitional Forms has Sharptooth kicking everything they did on Clever Girl into high gear. They have become stronger, louder, feistier, and more honest with their lyrics, and these lyrics are so damn brutal.
It shifts from a sense of hopelessness to finding a sense of compassion
Immediately the band go into a full fledged assault with “Say Nothing (In The Absence Of Content)”, a track that tackles toxic hypermasculinity and — not even being blunt about it — those who didn’t care about what Kashan wrote on Clever Girl. She’s at her angriest on the track, as if she’ll strangle you through your headphones. And my god is she at her best on this track. Hell her writing is taking everyone prisoner (take note with the opening lines “This is a song about nothing / Oh no, not a single thing / ‘Cause in the absence of content / I hope that you’ll forget / That all this shit never meant a thing.” And the breakdown on here is just legendary.
But not everything is bleak on the ten tracks that make up Transitional Forms. It shifts from a sense of hopelessness to finding a sense of compassion. You can hear and feel the hatred coming from tracks like “Mean Brain” and “Hirudinea”, a song which has Kashan lashing out one of her finest lyrics: “You’re not a feminist / Just because you fucked one.”
Kashan’s lyrics cut deep like a knife and her voice soars harder than it did on their debut three years ago. Each song sounds more personal than ever and that helps make each song stick out
As the record progresses, you can hear the change to self-compassion once “The Gray” comes on. The track is about discovering a world beyond binaries and diagnoses. Songs like “M.P.D.B. (Manic Pixie Dream Bitch)” and “Evolution” featuring Anti-Flag’s Justin Sane show Kashan feeling better about herself. While these songs have different beliefs than the first half of the record, they still contain the heaviness that Sharptooth have been dealing since 2014.
You might just smile a bit when you realize that the last words on the record are “Nevertheless, I persisted / Nevertheless, I resist / Nevertheless, I persisted / Nevertheless, I exist.” Overall Transitional Forms is Sharptooth at their best. Kashan’s lyrics cut deep like a knife and her voice soars harder than it did on their debut three years ago. Each song sounds more personal than ever and that helps make each song stick out from Clever Girl (no offense, it’s a great debut). The whole band have improved their craft in the years since, and now they’ve become a band that you shouldn’t mess with. They’ll die for their beliefs, so get out of the way if you’re dumb enough to stop them.
Transitional Forms is out now via Pure Noise Records