Baby Teeth are back, and this time they’re sticking around | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Baby Teeth are back, and this time they’re sticking around 

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click to enlarge Baby Teeth

Baby Teeth

Lara Levitan

It’s been more than five years since local indiepop band Baby Teeth broke up due to bassist Jim Cooper (formerly of Detholz! and Frodus) relocating to Los Angeles. Their last show, which they dubbed “The Last Schmaltz,” took place in July 2012, and with the exception of a one-off show in 2013, they’ve stuck by their self-imposed retirement. Lead singer and keyboardist Abraham Levitan has kept busy in the years since with projects such as Teletype, his duo with Chicago singer-songwriter Devin Davis, which released its full-length debut, Spontaneity (No Means No), in 2016. But in recent solo sets at the Hungry Brain, Levitan has been mixing some new songs in with Baby Teeth tunes. In an email to me, he mentioned that he has been sharing recordings of these performances with the other members, and that they may transform some of this material into a new Baby Teeth record. Throughout the band’s albums, they’ve amalgamated various elements from across the classic-rock genre, such as the wry songmanship of Warren Zevon and Harry Nilsson and the anthemic quality and arena-worthy production of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.,” so it’ll be interesting to hear where they’ve found inspiration this time around. And while Baby Teeth's music is certainly pleasing, they shine even brighter in their lyrics, especially when depicting the humor and pain of aging. In “White Tonight,” the title track of their 2012 record, the protagonist desperately tries to hold on to his waning social capital as a fading rock star, but he also finds comfort in a conventional lifestyle: he goes to bed early and spends his money on a couch instead of drugs. Getting old is a hard pill to swallow, but Baby Teeth make it all easier by depicting their subjects with kindness, affection, and respect. It’s exciting to have the group back, especially with a few more years of life experience under their belts.   v

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