Josh Scogin is an artist who has intrigued me from both afar and up close since I first heard The Chariot’s second album sometime in 2007.
An unwavering ability to push musical boundaries for the sake of it was the driver and final destruction of that band as they closed the door on their career feeling there was no boundaries left to push as a collective. This lead to Scogin creating the more rock orientated ’68 project, here releasing their third album, the first record for new drummer (and the other half of the band) Nikko Yamada.
Never one to rest musically, Scogin has pushed this effort into a more rock and boogie direction, writing riffs from the outset that stick in the mind like bacon in teeth. Opener The Knife, The Knife, The Knife and its following track Bad Bite were released as the first singles on the album and it is obvious why straight away. Both having memorable riffs and lyrics that will have rooms of people shouting them back at the duo as soon as the world gets back to touring.
The experimentation with blues riff doesn’t end there as What You Feed and What You Starve fight for attention in the push towards the melancholy heart that is the track Life and Debt. Feed… carries a stammering rock beat holding it all down over country rock riffs and if you listen carefully as the beat stammers you can hear someone counting Scogrin in to start riffing again in the small drum breaks. Starve… feels like a heavier version of fellow two piece Local H when they were at their prime in the late 90, never missing a danceable rock beat that has everyone in the room shaking their hips.
All this playing with the formula of music as we all understand is bound to make a mis-step every now and then though, and this album is not without its slight wobbles. Life and Deb slows down all the rock momentum that the album has built to this point and builds an introspective grunge ballad with a country backbeat that feels as though it was only put in the middle of the album as a rest stop. Elsewhere album closer The Storm, The Storm, The Storm starts out as an interesting prospect before meandering off a cliff in some proggy blues over extension showing sometimes even the best ideas need a cap on them.
Being a big fan of both this band’s output and Josh Scogin’s previous work, my biggest fear was that rock producer Nick Raskulinecz would come in with his usual sheen and try to reign in the ADD direction that some of this music deserves. I am pleased to say that on the surface it appears that he has done none of that. His input has obviously been considered valuable by the duo, but from my vantage point all his name in the liner notes will do is invite a larger audience to listen into some of the best kept musical secrets that have deserve to be heard by more ears.
1. The Knife, The Knife, The Knife
2. Bad Bite
3. Nickels and Diamonds
4. What You Feed
5. What You Starve
6. The Silence, The Silence, The Silence
7. Life and Debt
8. Lovers in Death
9. Nervous Passenger
10. The Storm, The Storm, The Storm