Attica! Attica! – Dead Skin Dried Blood

  • Bobby Gorman posted
  • Reviews

Attica! Attica!

Dead Skin Dried Blood - Red Leader Records

As soon as Aaron Scott announced the formation of Attica! Attica!, I was excited. Marathon gave me one of my favorite CDs of 2005 (in fact, it was my number one CD in my year end review) so any output from the members of the now defunct band peeked my interest.

Once I had my hands on a copy of Attica! Attica!‘s debut album it immediately found it’s way into my CD player. As Scott’s signature vocal style (somewhat similar to Ignite‘s Zoli Téglás) floated through the speakers and into my canal I was swept away. However, Dead Skin Dried Blood wasn’t exactly what I had expected. In fact, at first I was scared I wouldn’t like it and cautiously skipped from track to track carefully testing the waters. You see, it wasn’t quick, fast bursts of melodic punk like I expected. Other than the vocal similarity and a few select songs, Dead Skin actually contained very few similarities toMarathon‘s debut. Instead Attica! Attica! is a much more controlled and melodic effort. No longer a full band, Attica! is just Scott writing himself with some help from his friends.

Most of the songs are rather spares with Scott’s vocals leading the way for a stripped down acoustic guitar or piano melody and a basic drum beat. At times they do expand it with some electric guitars, accordions, cellos, bass and even the occasional gang vocal section; however, the most part is built on Scott’s vocals and his lyrical imagination. Even though it was not what I had originally expected, I soon overcame my skepticism and Dead Skin Dried Blood inevitably grew on me to a point where I can’t turn it off.

Scott’s vocals are powerful and rich, as he’s easily becoming one of my favorite voices of today’s music scene. The stripped down essence of the songs, while occasionally falling a little too flat, normally soars through with powerful delivery which makes for a record you want to throw on after a hard day’s work just to chill out and relax. Blackout is a five minute masterpiece built with only vocals and piano. A Dirge For The Underground and Flamethrower are heavier punk rock anthems while Way Down In Gitmo has a energetic and upbeat folk/country vibe to it which is contrasted by the much softer, reflective ballad in Frostbite.

However, the most astonishing aspect of the release is by far the lyrical genius that is threaded throughout. I originally thought the lyrics on Marathon were good, but here Scott has outdone himself. The political songs like Party Party, Way Down In Gitmo and The Kid’s War are scathing attacks on American politics that see hime writing in an imaginative and inventive way. Rather than the generic outright attacks, Scott uses tongue in cheek mockery that hits home and rings true. On Blackout, he paints a beautiful picture of a community uniting around a power outage and We’ll Always Be At Home glorifies a care-free way of living. He constantly proves that you don’t need a chorus to be catchy as long as you are able to write honestly and intelligently.

It’s a shame that this record won’t receive as much praise as it deserves since it doesn’t have multimillion dollar companies backing it, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that Dead Skin Dried Blood is well worthy of your time. I’m sure whoever does hear the record won’t be able to stop talking about it for a long time – I doubt I will.