Thursday, April 28, 2016
Cassette Review: Scammers "Deathly Hollow"
[$8.95 // https://scammers.bandcamp.com/releases]
As much as I try to know as little as possible about each cassette I review going into it, I did read this j-card before I reviewed it because I wanted to know if it was on a label (it is not) and I happened to see that it mentioned sampling Harry Potter. I recognize the title as perhaps being a reference to one of the Harry Potter book titles, but I was hoping it wasn't the case. I've seen a few of the Harry Potter films but I'm in no way what you would call a fan of the series though my wife is a huge fan and so I take most of my knowledge of it from her.
Thinking of the worst case scenario being that this could turn into an ode to Harry Potter with audio clips of them talking and songs dedicated to them, I still went into the songs with an open mind and luckily it is not really a Harry Potter themed release. What I expect are the Harry Potter parts of this cassette come in the form of that magical feeling in between songs or used as intros to songs by Scammers. It's not really something too obvious though, so if you weren't listening for it or had no idea it was there this wouldn't feel like it had anything to do with Harry Potter.
Unless, of course, the lyrics somehow have something to do with the book series and I just don't know it because I don't know if I've seen the movies up this far but am pretty sure I haven't, but there are no mentions of characters by name so I don't think the lyrics are secretly about any of the characters. But I do need to note that saying "Scammers" enough times can make it feel like you're saying "Scabbers".
When "Deathly Hollow" starts there are fast paced drum beats with slower guitars that don't sound like they're trying to catch up. It's atmospheric and dreamy bliss. Strings like a cello or violin can come in with the beats and in a lot of ways it reminds me more of something from Willy Wonka than Harry Potter. ("Come with me and you will see a world of pure imagination") There is also this certain brooding and darkness to the overall feel of these songs though, which is more obvious in songs such as "Devil" simply because of the topic at hand.
The singing on here reminds me of something between Illegal Wiretaps and Tom Waits (or maybe Tom Jones) as it blurs the line between singing and speaking. Sometimes, the lyrics have this way of bringing out clever rhymes and at other times it seems as if they are just at a total disregard for feeling like they have to rhyme. I like it because at least for the first few times you listen through it can feel unpredictable in what will be said next.
Lyrically itself this cassette covers a lot of ground. It explores a sense of self from being an artist, sure, but also just as being a person living in these times and at a certain age and all of that. Some of the first words that appear on this cassette though are about making music so great that none of the critics talk about it. I realize that a lot of other places which say they "review music" will be quick to bash something they don't like (in 500 to 700 words) but I don't write about things I don't like so having these most excellent cassettes is what has me seemingly reviewing Scammers so much.
At the end of the day though, this just becomes a remarkable cassette about self discovery and if you've ever lived and questioned life then it should be something you can relate to easily. The music has a universal appeal (to me at least) while not being too much on the side of pop so that it becomes overbearing. Sometimes it feels like it's just a moment stuck in time and listening to this just really seems to freeze time for me, so, why wouldn't you want to experience that?