London indie post-punk band Crushed Beaks’ debut album is one filled with almost tangible feelings of angst, vulnerability, and at times, pure fascination. Scatter serves as a medium in which the band can express multiple emotions and inspirations, and even though that may sound too ambitious for its own good, the album still flawlessly manages to sound cohesive, sharp, and addictive. Their sound is unique and different than other indie punk bands, and because of their specific quirks, they have slowly become one of my favorite discoveries of the year.
Opener “April” is pretty standard on the surface – an opening melody that builds and builds as the song progresses – but immediately the listener can recognize that frontman Matthew Polie’s vocals are a force in and of itself, and that realization continues with stunner (and my favorite) “Overgrown.” This track was the one that introduced me to the band in the first place, and everything from the grungy, Morrissey-esque vocals to that powerful, repeating guitar riff makes it a total winner. The energy provided by drummer Alex Morris really makes all the difference, as heard in “Overgrown” and in companion “Rising Sign.” This track was perhaps the most joyous and exuberant of them all, considering that it’s about becoming free of a sour relationship and realizing that your happiness is more important. “Choices” and “Feelers” serve more as filler tracks than anything else, and it’s here where I can recognize Scatter‘s main problem. It’s filler tracks – including the old tracks “Grim” and “Memory Loss” – take away from the feeling that the band was trying to cultivate. Since this genre of music is so fast and unapologetic, it creates this cloudy, indeterminate feeling that left me feeling a little neglected. However, the feeling of vulnerability that I see in this album makes up for it’s hiccups, and no track really showcases it more than “History.” The instrumentals are warm and inviting in the way it shimmers and envelops Polie’s vocals, which seem to be gorgeously pained and introspective.
Overall, Scatter is an album that definitely deserves to be listened to attentively and felt deeply. It’s feverish, excited nature will have you craving its own unique brand of euphoria, and make you fall in love with Crushed Beaks just like I did.
photo by Eleonora C. Collini