What to make of all the nervous energy on You’re My Lover Now, the official debut from the Philly junk-rock band called the Teeth? Sure, these musicians can borrow the strained, naked vocals of fellow natives Dr. Dog just as easily as the clanging percussion of Man Man, and that’s all well and fine. But often it’s the prickly guitar work and jagged rhythms — which have a tendency, frustratingly, to wander off into ska territory — that muck up the show. “Shoulderblade,” for example, could claim birthright as the ugly twin sister of “Come on Eileen” (even if you’d still dance with her).
Which is what makes leftfield moments like “Yellow,” “It’s Over, It’s Over” and “Rabbit Run” feel like dirty little gems buried in some other, better band’s backyard. The members of the Teeth turn discordance into a bizarre art form or, at the very least, an interesting science experiment. So when they connect, as they do wonderfully on the “That Light Always Goes Out,” a twinkle-piano lullaby that closes the album, it seems only by accident, not by design. But watching them miss the mark can be a lot of fun, too.