Probably the most accessible and instantly likeable of 5uu's albums, but you still have to have a fondness for the avant side of prog to enjoy it. I bought my copy used from a prog fan who didn't like it, so it's not for everybody. Personally, I love the album, so his loss was my gain.
To give some idea of the popularity of this album among the avant crowd, when Thinking Plague played ProgDay in '99 (with Dave Kerman on drums), someone in the audience called out a request for "Well...Not Chickenshit". Plague bandleader Mike Johnson replied by a riff from the song on his guitar. "Well...", the opening song on Hunger's Teeth, is a classic, with catchy (if somewhat angular) music and lyrics about condescending things a boss might be heard to say at a 9 to 5 job. According to Kerman, the title was found when keyboardist Sanjay Kumar accused him of being chickenshit (heh, Word's spell-checker wants to change that to "chickens hit") for not attributing the quotes to the actual people who had said them.
The lyrics to "Roan" really hit me, because it expresses something that I have experienced several times, and thought it was just me being paranoid. It's specifically about the dangers of living in California, and wondering if the various disasters that occur there will damage your home. We don't have many earthquakes or riots here in semi-rural Pennsylvania, but I have been on my way home a few times, saw smoke on the horizon and started worrying.
"Mangate" is a minimalist, tape-manipulation piece created by Thomas DiMuzio. It has such a hypnotic effect, that I once missed my exit on the highway because that track had lulled me into a semi-trance. Very neat.
Those first three tracks are my favorite part of the album, but it continues to maintain its high quality throughout. The ground it covers ranges from a barbershop quartet singing about barbers to philosophy about a bachelor fumbling his way through mending his own clothes. Plus there's a running theme throughout the album that has to do with horses - the one pictured on the cover, the track title "Roan" (which starts with galloping hoof beats), the rocker "Glue" ("in time, sugar and horses will both become glue") that starts with the trumpet call that begins horse races, etc. Even the album title is apparently meant to be the name of a famous race horse. The more I listen to this disc, the more layers and tie-ins to various themes I find.
This is definitely a highly recommended album, if you're a fan at all of prog's more experimental edges. For those looking to get their first 5uu's album, this would be a good place to start (if you can find it).
Sanjay Kumar, keyboards, etc; David Kerman, drums, guitars, keyboards, etc; Bob Drake, vocals, basses, guitars, violins, etc; with Thomas Dimuzio, electronics; Susanne Lewis, vocals; James Grigsby, guitar, vibes, bass; Michelle Bos, utensils, penny fountain, skydiving ocarinas, metal tables, creaks, blue rocks
1. Well... Not Chickenshit — 6:35
2. Roan — 3:03
3. Mangate — 2:55
4. Geronimo — 4:51
5. Glue — 2:41
6. Opportunity Bangs — 5:18
7. The Shears — 1:25
8. Bachelor Needle — 2:16
9. Truth, Justice, and the American Way — 5:35
10. Equus — 5:06
11. Traveler Waits for No One — 3:27