Freddie’s Extra Teeth is a new album from South Dakota native and indie rock artist Von Zimmer. The album’s title is an allusion to a story about Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury and his unwillingness to have his extra teeth removed for fear of losing his ability to hit his trademark high notes.
Though the album’s title would imply a musical connection to the Queen front man, Zimmer’s coarse vocals and lo-fi sound on Freddie’s Extra Teeth seem to have been inspired more by artists such as Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain, who helped cultivate the famously grungy, lo-fi sound.
Accompanying Zimmer’s vocals are an electric guitar and drums, with pianos and strings occasionally peppered into songs. The guitars and drums often seemed muffled and distorted, almost feeling un-mastered and mixed at times. This allows the pianos and strings to really shine during their parts in the songs, however. Along with Zimmer’s raw vocals, this gives songs a garage-like rock feeling.
Where Freddie’s Extra Teeth lacks, however, is in the repetitiveness of the songs. For instance, the guitar riffs often repeat over the length of any song. Furthermore, the drums and vocals feel flat at times, causing some of the songs to become stale and boring very quickly.
Despite this, there are a number of bright spots on Freddie’s Extra Teeth, including “The End of the World” and “Where Were You”—two tracks that benefit from the raw sound. Zimmer’s vocals blend well with catchy guitar riffs and the solid percussion is very audible on these two songs.
John Golden—a respected producer who has worked with industry elites—mastered Freddie’s Extra Teeth. Golden’s experience in the industry leads one to believe that it was a conscious decision on his part to keep the songs sounding lo-fi and demo-like, perhaps in an attempt to give the album a grungier personality and sound.
Where Freddie’s Extra Teeth succeeds is also where it unfortunately fails. The album attempts to channel its inner Cobain—and it does achieve this at times. It doesn’t achieve this consistently, however, which can create a disjointed listening experience.
Despite this, Von Zimmer is an undeniably talented young artist who delivers a few solid tracks with this album, making it worth a listen.
Freddie’s Extra Teeth is available for listening through Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud and YouTube. Rough mixes and demo versions of the songs are also available at Von Zimmer’s SoundCloud page, which offers listeners some insight into the creative process behind the music and how the songs came to fruition.
It will be very interesting to see where Von Zimmer goes from here—and it’s always fun to brag to your friends that you heard an artist first.