Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Reviews - 9/11/12

Jack Scratch - Jack Scratch 2012 - Doing a little research on Jack Scratch learned me that they were a bit of a local breakout band here in the greater Chicago metropolitan area back in the late 80's-early 90's.  A touch before this reviewer's time so they were totally new to me although the pictures of ticket stubs and fliers on the CD tray reference bands and venues that kicked up those weird types of quasi-memories that make you think, "oh man, those were heady times" but then you're like, "you know, I wasn't even actually there but I do remember meeting slightly older kids who seemed incredibly worldly who were probably there."  Then, as you start to form your own bands and experiences and memories and "scenes", you realize that yes, those times you quasi-remembered-but-weren't-actually-there-for were probably pretty great, but also full of the same bullshit and down-times that anyone else goes through.  In other words there's some idealization and nostalgia sprinkled in there too.  But again, not to say that there weren't elements of greatness.  Or maybe this is all just cynical ramblings on the part of this reviewer...so let's move on.

As an example of the aforementioned ticket stubs, there's one where Jack Scratch opened for Jane's Addiction at the Metro in 1988 and keeping in mind that this was not only about 2 decades before Illinois' smoking ban kicked in, but also the tail end of the 80's and ALSO Jane's Addiction being involved, I can't even begin to imagine the quantity and variety of things that were smoked and/or inhaled at that particular show be it in onstage, backstage, in the audience or in the bathrooms.  Seriously, the mind boggles.

But anyway, it was probably grand times for the fellows in Jack Scratch and god bless 'em for deciding to get together years later and start playing shows again.  Looks like some of the tracks are new originals while others are retreads from their past.  It's all good stuff and they know what they're doing.  Solid rhythm section, sharp guitarwork and some Dave Vanian-ish rough rock crooning.  I'd say the standout tracks are the opener "Broken Dreams" and well, one near the end.  Maybe it was "See Saw".  We weren't blown but aren't about to knock anything either.

Oh, except these couple things which just kind of cracked me up but make 100% sense since this a band that crested at the advent of CD's and is making another run as CD's are going the way of the Dodo bird.  1.) There is a "secret bonus track" that is not listed (unless I miscounted, which is possible but if I didn't miscount, this is an incredibly 90's thing to do) and 2.) the bonus track in question is a tepid, tuneless reggae style tune the likes of which was HUGE back in the early 90's by alternative-type bands.  No shit.  Tons of bands did this even it wasn't their usual style and it almost never worked.  Actually, no, it never worked.

I just sound like a dick at this point, so I'll stop.  But overall, this is quality stuff and if you dug you some Jack Scratch in yesteryear, this will do the trick I bet.  (www.jackscratchband.com)

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