Alright lads and ladies! It’s the end of the work week. It’s time to grab your gal or guy, grab a beer, and dance like Monday will never come again. A pretty damn sweet thought for those of us who work the typical Monday to Friday J-O-B. The clock strikes five at the end of the day and it’s as if we’ve broken free of all our metaphorical shackles and chains and let loose like a wild animal to wreak whatever havoc might satiate our bloodlust for fun. But the series of possibly maniacal events that are about to take place need a soundtrack. No one ever ‘rocked out’ to silence. So, what do we throw on the ol’ turntable? What bang and boom will make us twist and shake in pure, relentless joy? And from the moment Josh Scogin wails a bellowed ‘WWWWOOOOOOWWWW!!’ on the aptly named “The Knife, the Knife, the Knife”, you know you’ve made the right choice with ’68 and their upcoming record, Give One Take One. A badass garage rock/noise rock banger of an album that’s dead set on rockin’ you to your bones. This being the duo of Scogin and drummer Michael McClellan’s third full-length, you can tell within mere moments the boys brought a much more concise ruckus. Releasing an ep back in September, entitled Love Is Ain’t Dead and the promise of more music not far off, this record comes at the perfect time. The smell of Spring is in the air, and many a tushy is ready to move and groove after a Winter’s hibernation and these are nothing less than the perfect tunes to accomplish such joyful insanity.
Genre: Noise Rock | Garage Rock | Rock
Label: Chariot Music Inc.
Release: March 26th, 2021
FLOW / LONGEVITY / ORIGINALITY
The great thing about something like noise rock is that the necessity of ‘flow’ (or lack there of) is in the genre tag itself. In a sense it’s a bunch of ‘noise’ so almost any order of a set of songs would work. Now, I don’t mean that on an album like Give One Take One there is no cohesive sense of direction, because that is one thing for sure the boys have put into effect more than any prior release. What I do mean is that unlike some other genres, the songs on a record like this don’t always seamlessly transition from one to the next. Tracks can have an abrupt ending or use a random set of tones and sounds to begin the next. So, while the set of ten songs may not ooze without issue into one another, they are still arranged in a way that makes perfect sense. The songs on Give One Take One kind of go up and down like a rollercoaster, meaning that it’s almost a perfect playout of slow song, fast song, beck and forth from beginning to end. First single and opening track “The Knife, the Knife, the Knife” is a slow burn for sure, but not without a particular surge of energy that these boys inject into each one of their songs. Latest single (my personal favorite on the whole album), “Bad Bite” is perhaps one of the most thrilling and energetic tracks on the entire album. The infectious yet sporadic claps just pull you in and before you even notice, you’re clapping along each and every time. Perhaps the only hitch in this party train are the final two songs. “Nervous Passenger”, which was on the ep from back in September (also making it not the most wonderful addition, considering it’s on another release only mere months later), is assuredly one of the slower paced ditties only beat out by the molasses level flow of “The Storm, the Storm, the Storm” (which at 6:45 in length some might have expected some wild and crazy ride…this is absolutely not the case). Not every song in this genre is a wild rager, and these two songs didn’t need to be either. Just in my own humble opinion, I may have placed these in the middle of the album…a sort of breather…before going out with a bang-bang! Not intending to insult the boys of ’68, but rather than finish with a lullaby, I may have gone with an adventure story.
I’ve had Give One Take One for some time now. Upon receiving it, it became a welcome soundtrack to many a long drive in its first week. After that is more a random play after perhaps playing another album or two. I hate to keep going back to using the genre as a gateway to further explanations, but in this instance, I feel it’s the best way to describe why it wasn’t on constant replay. I enjoy the genre; I don’t LOVE it. It is a fun as fuck genre to throw on when you’re in a bouncy kind of mood or truly want to jam out while having some beers with the boys. It’s not the music I would put on if I’m in an aggravated state of mind or where I personally find a deep connection to the sounds. But luckily, I’m a fun loving kinda dude, so this album will have a home when I’m ready to tie one on or I’m excited about the distant drive up north to my cottage. For those of you who thoroughly enjoy tunage like Pissed Jeans, Daughters, HEALTH, or Japandroids then even I can promise you, THIS album will have major re-spin value.
Perhaps seeing as I’m not THE fan of this type of music, therefore my knowledge on a ton of bands within its realms is limited to say the least, I’m not at liberty to discuss the complete originality of ’68 and Give One Take One, but from what I have heard, these boys always seem to find a way to put their own unique twist on things. From adding almost western like vibes to a song and a surfer feel to another (which I’ll discuss further later in the review), or simply Scogin’s signature stylings, I still feel like ’68 do a fine job of setting themselves apart from their peers.
VOCALS / INSTRUMENTATION
Scogin. Man, this guy has run the gamut in the rock and core world. Scogin started things out as the frontman for Norma Jean where most of the world first heard his unique screams and growls. From there he created The Chariot. A chaotic blend of hardcore, metalcore with tinges of a barrage of other genres all wrapped into one ballistic band, where the fans heard a broader range of vocal stylings. Now we find him fronting a noise rock band with blends of straight up rock’n’roll. A band in which he mostly sings clean vocals with toss-ins of spoken word and a scream or two for good measure. This is where ’68 shines the most when it comes to originality. On “Life and Debt” we hear Scogin at his most emotional and harmonic with the softest and most heartfelt clean vocals he has ever sung. Whereas on “Bad Bite” and “Nickels and Diamonds” he trades off between some of the most energetic blasts of spoken word and singing he’s ever put forth. I’m not sure the dude will ever be the most swoon inducing of crooners (even considering his short lived, mostly acoustic solo project A Rose by Any Other Name), but the dude sure knows how to let’er rip.
The instrumentation on almost any album like this is the epitome of a word I’ve used a few times already; fun. It’s so all over the map, and it’s no different with Give One Take One. On “What You Feed”, one could almost get a western-y, almost country-esque guitar tone during the verses, while on “What You Starve” there’s more of an old-school, sleazy rock vibe that just instills a vision of the vocalist staring out into the crowd at one lone lady fan with the ‘come to me’ eyes. The guitars and drums are simplistic in nature, yet do everything they need to, to rock the house.
COMPOSITION / PRODUCTION
On this go, Scogin and McClellan really kicked things up a notch. From the singing to the style in which they play, to the subject matter, everything was ramped up in the most awesome of ways. The album sounds so much more varied than past releases, all while sounding purely ’68. The duo vastly refined every facet of their music, simply making this the most mature sound they’ve created yet, making it an all around more enjoyable listen.
The production value on Give One Take One is somewhat sludgy and staticky…and that is PERFECT! If any band in this realm of music went with a crisp and clear production, it would make absolutely zero sense. In effect in would make it almost a completely different genre, thus losing a lot of the impact and direction these sorts of songs are going for.
Every now and then you just want to throw on some tunes and have a blast with them. It is thoroughly enjoyable and cathartic to play an uplifting tune when you need a little pick me up, and something ferocious when you’re in the mood to rip someone’s head off. But sometimes you just want to rock out, man. It can’t simply be a fun-loving genre though. It’s gotta be something you can thoroughly enjoy, and it fills your being up with the rock’n’roll spirit. Enter, ’68. Give One Take One sees the boys at their finest, and really bringing all they’ve got to the table. They’ve upped their game in a brilliant way making exactly what a fun, bangin’ album should be, while adding depth to their overall sound. This is the best they’ve ever been, and it makes me so stoked for the future could hold for this band.