Reviews

The Dents 1979/80 LP

Previously unheard femme-fronted Midwestern synth damage from Cincinnati’s the DENTS, who never managed to release anything in real time but finally get their due on this new archival collection, featuring seventeen cuts recorded on a 4-track run through the club mixer at two local gigs in late 1979 and early 1980. Just by virtue of forming in Ohio in the late ’70s, the DENTS were pretty much destined to be inherently weirder (and therefore cooler) than most bands of the era on a similar punk/new wave cusp who also existed outside of coastal urban centers, boasted multiple members with mullets, and played sets heavy on covers of fairly recent vintage (in the DENTS’ case, we get takes on the VOIDOIDS, the REAL KIDS, and PATTI SMITH, among others), and they absolutely deliver on that promise. A steady, fucked-up synth warble over the dilapidated rhythmic stomp of “Baby Wants” and “The Dented” sounds like the UNITS through a heavy Clevo proto-punk filter, “Sleeping Around” is a shoulda-been KBD classic on the MAGGOTS/EYES wavelength (Vivien Vinyl’s savage opening shout: “He was a fixture of the Cincinnati scene / I was a victim of the sex machine”), and the nagging, synth-spiked snarl of “Why Do You Do?” drops a pin on the map right in between late ’70s New York punk grit and early ’80s Bay Area art-wave mayhem. Midwest is best; true heads understand and should acquire this post-haste.