Baby Tooth

  • Baby Tooth
  • Rare Book Room EP (Personal Favorite) 1994 

Originally known as Fluffy, the New York City trio of Israeli-born bassist/singer Michal Sapir, guitarist Nicolas Vernhes and drummer David Mecionis made one single under that name before realizing how many other bands were also using it. So they switched to one of the song titles on that first single, the even more deceptive Baby Tooth.

The trio was dark and aggressive, with a penchant for long, slow, drawn-out songs, but nobody would have guessed that. One more single — the superb “Jet Lag,” on kindred spirits Versus’s label, Remora — appeared, followed by Rare Book Room, an EP of six slow, pounding numbers offset by Sapir’s understated, quiet singing. The bombast level gets awfully high at times — “Comes and Goes” is especially over the top — but it’s dignified bombast, texturally intricate and often very powerful. (Scan backwards from the beginning of the CD and you’ll find an extra track: an eight-minute live version of the sinister two-note extravaganza “Slide.”) Since the dissolution of the band, Vernhes has been recording other groups at his studio, which is also known as Rare Book Room.

[Douglas Wolk]