Baby Teeth made For The Heathers on a dare, with each of the three members of the band working in isolation from home. Sequestered with only imagination as a barrier, the dramatic differences between each member's effort is both a shock and a pleasant surprise to the listener that can only be understood as separate entities with only the name "Heather" in common. The EP opens with a quiet, piano driven number, "For the Wars" before the "Heathers" are introduced and ends with a remix of "End of An Actress". But none of that is really important. The beauty of For The Heathers is in the various interpretations of "Heather". The sandwich on either side of the "Heathers"Ã¢â¬Â¦ well, it just doesn't carry the same romance.
"Heather Via PS" carries the influences of Modest Mouse's softer side, from the guitars and drums and into the backing vocal work. Mixing up gospel melodies and some electronic weirdness cut from the heart of early Air, it is both plaintive and despondent. The general malaise and hopelessness reflected through the lyrics carry in the music to create a dirge that never needs to go anywhere to be both beautiful and bleak.
"Heather Via JC," on the other hand, is a fusion of upbeat blasts of 80's choruses and verses that delve into that old Nick Cave darkness. Retro-synths play horns and general noises through a melody that almost, but not quite, comes straight from Spandau Ballet's "Gold". Lacking the beauty of "Via PS", it is redeemed through its own incongruity and the sheer brazenness to juxtapose buoyant 80's pop-blasts and melancholy in equal amounts.
The last of the "Heathers", "Heather Via PA" bobs along with acoustic guitars and almost familiar melodies that stay just out of reach. Hints of Sufjan Stevens without the banjo carry through folk melodies and anti-folk ethics. Some Paul Simon moves somewhere within a song that seems familiar but never really is. Showing what appears to be the greatest level of optimism on the EP, "Heather Via PA" somehow completes the circle that began with the downtrodden opening of "Heather Via PS".
Clocking in at just under 20 minutes, For The Heathers is brief but it never needed to be any longer. Any longer and maybe what is so special about it would be lost. Even the two tracks that sandwich the "Heathers" hinder the point a little bit. But it's all forgivable. From a simple dare, Baby Teeth have given birth to a true labor of love: a concoction of "Heathers" that is romantic as a collective work and ingenious as three individual songs. Three individual songs that, even though fashioned in isolation, manage to work together and manage to suit each other.
8.5 / 10
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