As a band name, Birds With Teeth gives you little idea what to expect. It's just menacing enough to work for an aggressive metal or hardcore band, but it's also lightweight enough to function for a pop-punk or modern rock outfit. It's an especially good fit for the Charlotte quartet that bears it, a puzzling mire of genre confusion and misplaced ambition.
Two, the outfit's simply titled second EP, is an identity crisis that never reaches a conclusion. These Birds attempt to soar with furious metal riffs, slash and thrash with hardcore intensity and shriek with Warped Tour-worthy emoting. But none of it gets off the ground, proving flightless, frustrating and as useful as the long-extinct Dodo.
The disorder is most apparent on the title track, a beguiling instrumental that crams mismatched styles into three short minutes. They open with a steely and impersonal blackened metal build-up, complete with clichéd snarls. They then shift to a silly, classic-rock riff before adopting a bland post-rock crescendo and returning to their metal posturing, this time with clanging church bells in the background, another painfully overdone stereotype.
Confusion mounts in the subsequent songs. "BU" pairs a throaty emo caterwaul with background vocals that resemble Glenn Danzig. "Under Covers" starts out sounding like an early Ataris B-side before inexplicably adopting staccato hair-metal riffing in the bridge.
If they ever hope to take off, Birds With Teeth need to learn how to execute one style well. As it is, they try their hands at many, failing at most.