You'd be forgiven for thinking that Skraw who are from Wallingford, CT album entitled The Ozarks was a record from the newest neo-bluegrass psychedelic trance fusion jam outfit. You'd be quite wide of the broad side of a cracked Quaker barn, as Skraw is a classic lo-fi, bedroom pop outfit. More The Dead C than Dock Boggs.
The Ozarks is over in a blink of an eye, seven short songs, with the longest not even two minutes long. It creates an addictive sugar-rush adrenaline blast of chiming, jangling multi-tracked guitars and indistinct vocals, buried in the haze. Things start off with "Shaking Hex,” with a churning and catchy guitar riff that sounds like moody Sonic Youth. What the website www.ctindie.com described as groovy gloom. It features some slack, Modest Mouse spoken vocals, which gives way to some shouted hardcore refrains.
Next comes "My Old Room,” a chiming mantra-like acoustic guitar sketch, with what sounds like a fire-and-brimstone sermon in the background. At a mere 21 seconds, "My Old Room" is truly weird and experimental, and gives a sense of location, placing the listener in Scott Perrin's old bedroom in Connecticut.
"Down The Tubes" is the cornerstone of the record. It's the longest track, 1:52, and contains the genetic blueprint of all that is Skraw. Jazzy, dissonant, clashing guitars meet crashing, driving drums and half shouted/half sung vocals. It's equal parts Steely Dan and Steel Pole Bath Tub, and reveals Perrin to be quite an accomplished guitar player and songwriter. It's refreshing to hear something other than strummed Dylan chords, to take advantage of the guitars ability to be "an orchestra in a box.”
Jazz and metal, noise sketches and singsong confessional songwriting, Scott Perrin's The Ozarks is everything that is the best about home recording. It is an odd and unlikely amalgamation of styles and influences by a talented songwriter with something unique to say. Rather than burying a lack of originality or talent beneath a layer of scuzz, tape-hiss and reverb, as has been the tendency for a lot of bands in the last eight years, Skraw is the opposite. The man has something to say, and is willing to do whatever it takes to get it out and make it happen. The murky production is a by-product of being a young musician, starting off with a hunger and a thirst.
I would not be surprised if Skraw cleaned and cleared up, as time goes on, emerging from the shadows of lo-fidelity, as has been seen in the likes of Beach House or Ariel Pink, recently. Scott Perrin's project possesses that primordial spark that is so mystifying of all great lo-fi; experimental yet catchy, something brand new, while still managing to sound classic.
For fans of Pavement, Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth, Modest Mouse, you need to get this! I can't stop playing it!
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