On Dan Kinnaley’s debut EP as Sparkle Teeth, he locks into this sonically-rich musical world where early 90s fuzz intermingles with shoegaze pop and post-hardcore grit. In other words, if you grew up on bands like Polvo, Dino Jr, Lush, and find those vibes in modern bands like Protomartyr, Cloakroom, and Whirr, then Sparkle Teeth is going to be your newest musical obsession.
Kinnaley is no stranger to the hardcore scene, playing in The Snarks, Burial Party, and Truck Flag. He’s a staple of the Fort Wayne music scene and has been for years now. But since 2020 was a year of empty stages and empty clubs, he’s concentrated on both building a home studio to pursue his music engineering dreams and working on his songwriting as Sparkle Teeth. It seems a year working on himself has paid off.
With three songs total Kinnaley hits the mark quickly on his debut, and repeated listens are encouraged. Opener “Be Free” quietly sneaks in with a dreamy waltz rhythm but quickly explodes into distorted guitar and explosive drums. Kinnaley’s vocals lay somewhere between Protomartyr’s Joe Casey and Joy Division’s Ian Curtis, with a touch of Bob Mould. Kinnaley is finding his voice, as he’s not been a vocalist before now, but I’d say he’s well on his way.
“Technicolor” is a loping, almost dream pop track draped in swaths of guitar fuzz not unlike J Mascis. There’s a similarity between Sparkle Teeth and the great Dino Jr, in that underneath the heavy sonics lie these earnest pop songs. I could hear any of Sparkle Teeth’s tracks played beautifully on piano with acoustic guitar. It would work.
Album closer “Slack” is the heaviest, pummeling guitars and drums brings visions of early 90s Sub Pop and SST releases. Kinnaley mixes it up with some tasteful synth thrown in, giving the proceedings an ethereal vibe. The song fades into a hazy end.
Dan recorded the bass, guitar, and synth at his own Chipped Tooth Audio, while the vocals and drums were recorded at Off The Cuff Sound(drums and mixing duties were handled by Jason Davis.)
It seems a year working on his own music and engineering skills paid off for Dan, as his Sparkle Teeth EP is a hell of a start. Short it is, you’ll find yourself wanting to hit repeat. Excited to see what’s next for Dan and Sparkle Teeth.