Scars On 45 by Scars On 45

Scars On 45 by Scars On 45

 

Scars On 45 are the U.K.’s answer to the crop of alt-country acts (Lady Antebellum, The Rescues) that have emerged in the States since country & folk began experiencing an unexpected revival. The down-to-earth, sincere five-piece struggled for recognition for a few years, but extensive airplay of their cuts on mainstream TV shows such as C.S.I.: New York and Grey’s Anatomy propelled them to a signing deal with Atlantic Records.

 

Though released a little later than expected, Scars On 45’s crisply-produced eponymous debut is chock full of catchy, cinematic singles that plays to the band strengths. Namely, sweet harmonies, affecting instrumentation, and emotionally deep songwriting that – while not terribly varied or overflowing with talent or wordplay – is extremely palatable and comes straight from the heart.

 

TRACKLIST:
#1. Warning Sign 4:02
#2. Breakdown 4:19
#3. Heart On Fire 3:40
#4. Don’t Say 3:59
#5. Change My Needs 4:16
#6. Burn The House Down 4:02
#7. Give Me Something 3:22
#8. Beauty’s Running Wild 3:51
#9. The Way That We Are 4:36
#10. Insecurity 5:16
Bonus Tracks:
#11. Loudest Alarm 3:53
#12. Tomorrow Won’t Die Too Soon 3:33
#13. Two Way Radio 4:04
#14. Promises And Empty Words 3:20

 

PERSONNEL:
Danny Bemrose: Vocals, Guitars
Aimee Driver: Vocals, Percussion
Stuart Nichols: Bass
David Novakowski: Keyboards, Pianos, Backing Vocals
Chris Durling: Drums

 

PRODUCER:
Scars On 45

 

DATE OF RELEASE:
10th April, 2012

 

SINGLES:
Beauty’s Running Wild
Give Me Something
Heart On Fire

 

Since they’re so memorable and possess serious replay value, let’s start with the highlights, shall we? No other track encapsulates the record as well as Heart On Fire, a soft rock ballad about heartache stemming from loneliness that evokes memories of the 70s classic rock era. The swaying rhythm, arpeggiated guitar lines, easy chorus harmonization, and the vocal interplay between Bemrose and Driver – all point towards a reincarnation of Fleetwood Mac.

 

Give Me Something is just as good, though in a slightly different fashion. Bemrose shows surprising restraint throughout to keep the guitar solos to a minimum, but the 5-second riff at the 2:17 mark really deserved an extended version. And though Durling wisely keeps his steady drumming vanilla throughout, he infuses this one with extra spice and bounce. Combine that with their unfailingly tight harmonies, and you have a track where the band brings its full musical ability to bear.

 

Other highlights include the poppy Breakdown, the acoustic, folksy Change My Needs (featuring Driver’s quite plain but strangely engrossing lead vocals), and perhaps The Fray inspired Beauty’s Running Wild. The remaining tracks are good enough to be a notch above filler status, but still largely unremarkable. Then again, it’s mostly piano driven alt-rock with lyrics about broken promises, tearful apologies, people being rescued, things coming undone… the usual love/relationship tropes, so don’t be surprised if your hair isn’t blown back. (Although they’re imaginative enough to come up with their own clichés.)

 

If I were in charge of culling the final tracklist, I would have swapped the opener Warning Sign (which sounds like an amalgamation of two or three other tracks) with heartland rock flavor of Two-Way Radio. Apart from that misstep, this is a solid, consistent debut that has firmly established the West Yorkshire band’s formula. As long as they’re careful not to overuse Driver’s voice or micromanage each other, Scars On 45 have some bright days ahead.

 

 

 

 

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