The Hudson-based band Last Good Tooth's debut Not Without Work and Rest, envelops the listener with stream-of-consciousness lyrics swiped from cocktail-napkin chicken scratch matched to individual melodic lines picked on the guitar. Somehow it works. Especially if you can get into mountain freak folk with seasonings of chamber swamp, drunken shuffle, hand-clap steam, and foot-stomp swagger. Devendra Banhart ain't got shucks on these quirky youngsters, although it might take a couple of immersions in your isolation tank to initiate the full breadth of the LGT experience. Similar alternative-lifestyle acronyms aside, most folkies will find something they can fry in a pan with the standard instrumentation of guitars, bass, drums, and fiddle, all of which are supplanted with the real-gem sideshows of strings, horns, and piano that take the music to the next level and demand attention to the ramble.
The result is warm, dark, and plodding, but ambling ably from lonely bedside angst to fireside-hoedown to New Orleans death parade. Singer-songwriter and guitarist Penn Sultan's unique baritone-to-bass vocals present an interesting dichotomy to the Blue Ridge Appalachia feel, and walks a sincere-but-thin line between sardonic and vulnerable. The production rounds out the package with a well-matched mix and tones that are accommodating of the lo-fi ascetic without being precious. The listener is rewarded deep in the album with more structured singalongs and less abstract lyrics that involve a welcome and broader field of vision. Team-love.com.