Goldteeth might not be a name that’s all that familiar yet but, if you consider yourself an expert on one of Britain’s best ever bands, you’ll likely recognise the man behind it. The moniker belongs to one Andy Nicholson, founding member and former bassist for Arctic Monkeys, who has quietly kept making music in various guises since leaving the Steel City superheroes back in 2006.
If Nicholson’s endeavours over the last 13 years have proven anything, it’s that he’s not concerned with trying to recreate the sweaty, sticky floored indie of his most famous project. With Mongrel – a supergroup of sorts that featured Monkeys drummer Matt Helders, Reverend And The Makers’ Jon McClure, rapper Lowkey,and Babyshambles’ Drew McConnell – he made rap-rock infused with elements of rave and dub. He’s worked with Sheffield DJ and producer Toddla T, been a part of hip-hop collective Clubs & Spades and collaborated with London singer/songwriter Tom Prior. If you thought you would have Nicholson pegged, he’ll very quickly prove you wrong.
On his self-titled debut EP as Goldteeth, the eclectic musician hops genre once again. Over the course of five bright tracks, he delves into summery R&B, funk flexes, and classic soul grooves. ‘Doin Better’ brings together jazzy guitar lines reminiscent of Mac DeMarco, wobbling slap bass, and layers of crystallised synths, while ’The Thunder’ is a little darker. Stuttering guitars that sound like a chainsaw motor trying to sputter into action interject over a swaggering bassline until they eventually get revved up enough to build into a big wall of noise. Closing track ‘Crucify’, meanwhile, has enough psych flashes to keep Tame Impala fans at least momentarily distracted from the wait for a new album from Kevin Parker.
This record isn’t Nicholson’s attempt at becoming a frontman. He doesn’t take the lead on it, recruiting singer-songwriter Hannah Yadi to add her soulful vocals to the tracks instead. It’s a shrewd move – it’s hard to imagine the EP without her honeyed voice soaring over the instrumentals.
Yadi also contributed to the lyric writing for the record, with Nicholson crediting her with an even 50 percent split of the lines. When they sat down to work together, he only had one instruction – keep it positive. “Oasis were never like, ‘It’s done, it’s down, it’s over’,” he explained to NME last month. “They’re more like, ‘You might be in this place now but there’s always hope and it can always get better’.”
That spirit is palpable throughout. “Even if we fall apart, we can start again,” Yadi sings on the sunny ‘Start Again’, her attitude seemingly one of looking at each day as a fresh opportunity, no matter what kind of shit’s gone down in the 24 hours previous. On ‘Hand Of God’, she and Nicholson push the message of shooting your shot and at least trying to do what you want to do. Even the artwork feels optimistic – a concrete block of flats with boarded-up windows shown under a balmy blue sky rather than the grey overcast scene usually linked to such a scene.
‘Goldteeth’ is a solid start for this new project of Nicholson’s. It’s a short but sweet reminder of what he’s capable of and where his head’s at right now, and a ray of light that deserves to be sought out.