There seems to be a decreasing focus on storytelling in albums released these days. This isn’t to discredit or devaluate bands who are still working hard to bring fresh, new music to our ears on a daily basis, but all the same – it is a valid observation. It would seem that nearly gone are the days of artists writing comprehensive, immersive tales with a fierce and complex musical backdrop – it would seem that way, were it not for bands like Lakota De Kai. These Ohioan masters of blues-ridden post-hardcore bring intense, ferocious music with deep, passionate lyrics to create an in-depth experience for listeners of all walks of life. Heavy Teeth, their first EP under We Are Triumphant records, is proof of this.
Opening with a catchy, raunchy southern-tinted riff, Heavy Teeth already lets the listener know that it’s a far cry from the run-of-the-mill post-hardcore which is running rampant amongst today’s scene. While the riff work on “Babe Ruthless” is intense, the pounding drums and driving bass kick in the door, knocking it off the hinges and the listener out of their seat. The bi-polar oscillation between fleet, catchy riffing and dissonant, down-tuned grooves keep the listener on their toes, as if they were walking upon a sea of shattered glass. This dynamic continues with tracks like “Honey Badger” (which definitely don’t care) and “Kid Come Back,” both of which are infectiously fast-paced and absolutely incessant in nature. Crashing cymbals roar underneath mach-speed chords and notes from the guitar which are bolstered by booming, bodacious bass guitar. However, there is a very different side to Lakota De Kai’s instrumental soundscape which makes Heavy Teeth all the more incredible. The closing portion of “Kid Comeback,” along with a great majority of “Truth or Consequences, New Mexico” utilize a slower, more plodding song structure which peel back the curtains on the soft, spongy emotional core brooding within the unstoppable musical juggernaut the listener has witnessed thus far: the vocals, and their lyrics.
Lakota De Kai are absolutely wonderful lyricists, and they are absolutely not ashamed of it. “Truth or Consequences, New Mexico,” alongside “Find Your Deathstar” are brilliant, shining stars amongst the cluster of 'innovative' tracks being released by otherwise mediocre post-hardcore acts. “Find Your Deathstar” makes use of a female-vocal guest appearance which is so completely contagious that it will plant a seed inside the listener’s head that will take over their head for weeks on end. “Kid Comeback” also makes use of an almost Jordan Dreyer-influenced vocal style which blends spoken elements with harsh, grating screams that further inspires emotion and feeling upon the listener. Non-stop toggling between harsh, violent shouts, subtle, spoken segments and crooned, Keith Buckley-esque singing attacks the listener no matter where they might try and hide – not that they would want to hide in the slightest. In fact, the bombastic vocal efforts riddling Heavy Teeth keep the listener so intensely engrossed in the EP that they might find it hard to focus on the real world around them. This is the true art that is Lakota De Kai’s unique dynamic.
Listening to Heavy Teeth is like listening to the very heart of the Midwest. The instruments paint stellar, fluid soundscapes which range from lush, rolling hills to flat, barren plains – and everything in between. Meanwhile, while the guitars roar and the cymbals splash color over Lakota De Kai’s immense canvas of sound, the vocals and lyrics provide detail – the sort of detail which can only come from the gift of true storytellers. These details are what keep the listener coming back for more; the difference between a pretty picture and a masterpiece. “Find Your Deathstar” is archetypical of this–using a guest vocal appearance alongside the oscillation between innocent catchiness and reprimanding heaviness and groove to lure the listener in, only to trap them in the painting. However, once trapped, the listener finds themselves in a state of serenity – what reason would there be to leave? Heavy Teeth more than willingly provides everything they might need.
Have you been searching for an immersive story rather than a collection of scattered songs? Then search no further than Lakota De Kai’s Heavy Teeth. With all the immersive nature of a full-blown novel, but the accessibility of a simple television show, this EP will grab your attention and hold onto it for as long as you let it – hours, days or weeks.
For Fans Of: Defeater, Every Time I Die, La Dispute, Partycat, Fall City Fall