Updated: Aug 9, 2022
One of the premier underground emo rockers are back with their third studio album Sweet Tooth, four years since since their prior full-length release, and six years since their shockingly good debut Best Buds. This time around, the 37-minute record is strong enough to keep listeners wanting more and relieve those who have been waiting four years for a full-length release. Sweet Tooth finds itself somewhere in the pop-punk realm, but with its toes still touching the underground indie rock icon that Best Buds has become to many. A lot of the interesting guitar and drum work seems to have faded with these guys over time, being a bit of a letdown to longer-time fans. At the same time, this record branches out even farther into the pop/punk realm which perhaps is the direction they are trying to go? You can't blame a band for an effort to strive towards a more commercial sound, but no matter how you put it, as time goes on, the new releases just are not getting stronger (at least in a musically interesting and unique way).
There's plenty to like on this album with What's Up being the first track to come to mind, and the one which has seemed to be the best received on Spotify and Apple Music alike. With screaming vocals and rippin' guitars this track could be an anthem for angsty 20-year old's who, no matter how hard they try, never seem to know what's going on (and I mean that in the dearest and best of ways as that's where all the good music seems to come from). Followed immediately by the short and sweet Hippo in the Water which is even louder and more powerful than What's Up. Two back-to back charged and rampant bangers kick off this album, along with the opening track Something Sweet showcasing a little bit of the mathy and technical guitar sound that made their debut album such a bop.
Later tracks such as Sweet Tooth & Ten Minutes are memorable enough, and catchy enough to toss on your playlists. Ten Minutes has a nice little vocal aside where the guys take you over to spoken word world and lay down some poetic sad-boi verses which will hit you right in the feels to their credit. A nice little change of pace and something Mom Jeans can do very well. This record really does have some good lyrics, about as strong as any other good emo band, even better I would say. The balance of sound as a whole here, can just overshadow a lot of the good lyrical writing, something which did not happen on their debut.
If you lean more towards the pop/punk realm and energy, you'll probably really connect with this record, but if you lean towards the more alternative rock or emo rock realm, you might be a bit let down. Sweet Tooth scores a 6/10 because Mom Jeans was able to capture enough of the pop/punk, the emo, the math rock, and the indie sound to make a well-rounded, genre defying album their first time around and because they can do that, that's the standard they are held to by default by listeners. There sure is plenty to like here though, from the great lyrics, the glass-shaking power, the in your face guitars, and some powerful vocal harmonies, they'll be a couple songs for sure you'll want to come back to. Get back to the genre defying gold that was Best Buds, that's the stuff which is way more interesting to the listeners, and frankly for the musicians. The guitar work and especially the drum work in the debut is shockingly good, and only a fraction of that made it into this record. Pretty good album, just a bit of a letdown from what they could be.