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“f you have even a passing interest in the last 40 years of dance culture, Norwich duo Sink Ya Teeth’s debut is sure to sound familiar—and that’s the point. Maria Uzor and Gemma Cullingford’s self-titled album is a veritable archive of au courant reference points: the rubbery basslines of Liquid Liquid, ESG’s call-and-response dance-punk, the alluring menace of dark disco, New Order’s synthetic ecstasy, the cold atmospherics of electro. These sounds have been revived before, notably during the 2000s, as the retro-futurist electroclash movement and the side-long revelries of early DFA gave way to bloghouse, a microgenre that played fast and loose with dance music’s past. Now, nostalgia for ’80s club music also calls back to that period.
But Sink Ya Teeth surpasses mere genre mimicry, as Uzor and Cullingford channel the feeling as well as the sounds of classic dance music. Style is easy to copy, but attitude is hard to fake, and Sink Ya Teeth have plenty of the latter. “I feel a little depressed/A little melancholy at best,” they intone in deadpan unison on breakout single “If You See Me,” their disaffection a perfect match for the dry beat and rubbery bass. In an interview with M magazine, Uzor described the squiggly track “Pushin’” as channeling a “frenzied and almost sexualized addiction to religion and salvation.” When she sings, “And when the sermon begins/She feels the tears of a thousand years of sin/But he keeps pushin’,” it evokes dance music’s long relationship with carnality and guilt, from Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” to the opening of LCD Soundsystem’s 45:33.” Pitchfork