Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Attica! Attica!-Dead Skin Dried Blood

March 1, 2008

Attica! Attica! – Dead Skin Dried Blood

Red Leader Records

Folksy pop with great instrumentation and powerful lyrics.

Despite an early dislike for this album, I would have to give Dead Skin Dried Blood a pretty glowing review in the end. Originally, I had the feeling that Attica! Attica! would be a lot more appealing with a different sound. It felt as though the voice of singer Aaron Scott didn’t match the music he was making.

Scott’s voice seems too heavy and serious for such a light-sounding album. Although his vocals turned me off at first because of their blunt, shouting, deep nature, many people would find it beautiful.

Dead Skin Dried Blood combines a variety of instruments and elements on every track. Scott has entailed the help of Chris Antal, Annie Barley and Kevin Dossinger on instruments such as piano, cello, guitar, drums, accordion and various other percussions. This keeps the music very interesting. Each song is very forward-moving, but sometimes it just sounds overdone, vocally. One song really stands out as being near-perfect, however, and that is “The Play’s the Thing.” It could be very commercial, and is enjoyable to listen to, consider its upbeat, powerful attitude.

This album is a journey. Each song is respectfully different, but it is fair to say it is a cohesive album. It’s amazing how Aaron Scott can absolutely change his sound 180 degrees from “Frostbite” to the next track, “Tires and Mint.”

The brightest spots on Dead Skin Dried Blood are not only certain tracks (“A Dirge for Underground” being one of the best), but the musical integrity. Each sound comes across as so intensely bright and clear (his voice, the strumming of the guitar, the piano). The lyrics are also insanely interesting and reverent to a lot of what is going on in the world today. Everything is so pertinent; there is no flimsy filler here at all. Scott is a skillful writer, and the only times the lyrics get cheesy and are weirdly rhymed are in the first track, “Motion Sickness.” But just move on from that and enjoy the rest of the album….

Thought has gone into every song, most noticeably the lyrics. A lot of them are politically charged such as “Way Down in Gitmo.” Suddenly the sound goes country folk, and Scott plows on through the song with lyrics such as, “Way down in Gitmo/That’s Guantanamo Bay/ that’s where bad guys belong even if they’ve done no wrong/’cause we need someone to blame.” Scott’s vocals are actually most refreshing and likeable in this song. The thing about his singing style, is that you hear each and every word, and there is no guessing as to what certain lyrics might be. Some like that, some don’t you be the judge.

Where his voice irritates me, I can indulge in the masterfully played instruments. If you’re not in this for the lyrics, the music is poppy and uplifting to anyone.

Marilyse Diaz

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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