Scorpion Kids Sure Know How To Rock.
Yo, this be Reuben. Ayt? Been a while since I’ve done one of these, ain’t it? Oh well, here’s a music review, hopefully the start of a more reliable stream of sexilicious album reviews. To give a bit of background to people who haven’t heard of Scorpion Child, they’re an American hard rock band from Texas, and their music sounds like a mix between The Mars Volta and Black Sabbath recorded in a sweaty Texan garage. Fortunately, it wasn’t actually recorded in a garage, but that’s by the by.
Surprisingly, they took seven years since their initial formation in 2006 to make this debut LP, having only previously released an EP in 2009, but they have since released another album, so it should be right to assume they’re more of a studio band now than they were at first. It was probably worth the wait, because their first record is great.
It carries throughout a classic rock sorta feel, but at the same time changes it up with some Mars Volta and Audioslave influences and some interesting ideas. Most every song goes by a different pace to the one before it as you are thrown around on a rocking rollercoaster of an album. Aryn Jonathan Black’s high-pitched vocals – which were clearly influenced by Cedric Bixler Zavala (Mars Volta singer), in particular sounding like a slightly more aggressive and more accent based take on Cedric’s vocals in his more recent work – take on the main melodies of the record and excel in catchy hooks throughout. Unfortunately, he doesn’t possess a massive vocal range, but his voice is stylized and sounds great throughout – and not everyone can be Chris Cornell. In fact, sometimes it sounds like he’s trying to do a bit of a Chris Cornell, mixing it with the screechy vocals of Cedric — of course, I might just be mistaking these influences for his natural voice, I bet he’s never actually heard either singer.
Aryn’s not alone in the record, though; I don’t think I’ve ever heard rock that’s just a voice, kinda misses the point of rock. What’s the point of rock? Funky bass riffs and sweet-ass guitar solos rolled along with hard-hitting drum beats. Scorpion Child has all these things nailed – what a relief, eh. They created a riff machine on par with the best the genre can offer, with tight drums and sexy bass licks along with fantastic showboat guitar solos and an armadillo on rollerskates. Oh wait, maybe not the last one.
This one’s a real leg-jigger. I find myself uncontrollably toe-tapping and head-nodding throughout this album, non-stop (I’m-using-a-lot-of-hyphens-aren’t-I). The band probably enjoyed it more than I do though;
As I’ve said before, variety is the spice of life, and this Eponoymous release is full of it. Although the funky riffage and awesome hooks are constant, the pace varies a lot and every song manages to be a different experience to the one that precedes it. There are a couple of power driven riff machines that are cool and slow, some that are fast and energy fueled and some slightly lighter tunes for good measure. Although Antioch might be a weak point in the album in its light cheesiness, and Liquor sounds a little too familiar, the rest of the album gets its tone spot on, Paradigm and Kings Highway in particular being beasts. Some of the songwriting is slightly lazy in that the same bar is repeated a little more than I want and their aren’t much turning points in songs to keep excitement high. There are also some odd stop gaps thrown around and little experimental bits that don’t really go anywhere. The drumming is slightly low in the mix, too, so it’s pounding power and technical brilliance isn’t shown off as well as it could have been.
Nevertheless, most of Scorpion Child’s first LP is pure enjoyment and it ends up being one of my preferred hard rock records of the decade, down to its energy, power and spot on melodies, so despite a couple of rough edges it ends up being very recommendable to anyone looking for a new rock album (or band) to dig their ears into.
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