“Every time you smile, I can tell you’re just showing your teeth,” Lindsay “Coco” Hames snarl-purrs on Wicked Will opener “Teeth,” and it’s a apt and ominous m.o. for The Ettes’ fifth long player. Like The Dead Weather, Jay Reatard and The Black Keys, all acts that the Nashville-based trio has shared stages with, there’s an ominous cloud that hangs over The Ettes’ dirty pop.
Producer Liam Watson (The Kills, White Stripes—seeing a pattern here?), who’s worked with The Ettes a few times in the past, has once again helped the band find just the right mix of front-porch swagger and Jesus and Mary Chain fuzz here, and the result is an impressively cool-sounding (see also: The Raveonettes) record throughout. “Cool” doesn’t always translate to “good,” and it’s a little too easy to take a spin on Mr. Toad’s Wild Namedropping Ride while describing The Ettes’ sound, but they’re certainly good at what they do. And unlike many retro-revivalist bands, they’ve got Hames’ sassy vocals front and center, ensuring that the band’s both smiling and showing its teeth.