Another album review, originally posted here.
Dr Scardo – Dark Dog Days (Resonator Records)
Subtlety is not something you often find in politically-inclined bands, and Dr Scardo are no exception. Right out of the gate that sets up Dark Dog Days as an album that many people won’t need to even listen to in order to dislike. If you think Margaret Thatcher was a great prime minister who did What Needed To Be Done for Britain then this will not appeal to you, possibly no matter how big a fan of contemporary alternative rock you are.
If the political and social commentary isn’t a problem then Simon Scardanelli’s latest band project are definitely worth a listen. Funky bass lines, judicious use of synth and the occasional big chorus make for compelling listening. The songs edge a bit on the long side but at eight tracks the album delivers its message without labouring the point. Lyrics vary between incisive to overdone (“Costa not fucking coffee and Starsucks”… Starsucks? Really?) but are generally insightful or brutally honest.
While ‘Leave Us Alone’ and ‘End of the World’ make good singles, the most representative song is the nine-minute title track. The band lay down a groove over which Scardanelli delivers half-sung social commentary. It finishes with the gem “Thatcher’s ghostie stalks the corridors of power and she’s not even dead yet”. Unfortunate timing, perhaps, but I don’t think Dr Scardo will mind too much.
This is a review I wrote some time ago for outlineonline.co.uk, here. I’ve actually posted the review on this blog already but the way it was formatted was really annoying so I’m reposting it. Look for more music and book reviews being posted soon!
Team Ghost / Rituals (w-Sphere)
Rituals for what? I’m not sure but it’s probably something sinister. There are certainly a few kinds of ghost lurking in this album and I don’t think many of them are friendly. ‘Somebody’s watching/it turns me on’ sing the lyrics to ‘Somebody’s Watching’. At its best the album is gothic shoegaze that drives along with a fierce energy that never quite reaches a catharsis, while at its worst it sags into pure atmospherics. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but tracks like the opener ‘Away’, ‘Curtains’ and the excellent ‘Dead Film Star’ achieve the atmosphere of a haunted house while channelling the energy of a poltergeist. Other tracks are haunted by more passive-aggressive ghosts, the kind that leave messages with fridge magnets like an irritated flatmate.
After a great start the album slows down for a few tracks and then explodes with guitar noise at the end of ‘All We Left Behind’. It tries to do what the opening track did but not quite so well. You put all of your best songs in the first half of the album guys. And yes, everyone does that, but the end result is an album of really good, atmospheric songs that begins to fade out around the half-way point. A bit like white noise, but not the regular sort: the stuff from that film, with ghosts in the static.