The Sky We Scrape


Written by: PP on 20/05/2013 20:34:22

When you're introduced to a new band releasing their debut album that reportedly sounds like Hot Water Music and Small Brown Bike, you can be relatively sure that the record will land on my review desk sooner than later considering the gravelly vocals and hard-edged, melodically ringing guitars are exactly my cup of tea when it comes to punk rock. So here we are with the Chicago-based quartet The Sky We Scrape, whose debut album "Divides" sounds eerily like the Make Do And Mend debut album, which was sent to us with a nearly identical press release description prior to its release. So as you might expect, "Divides" sources its sound very obviously from Hot Water Music, and like so many other bands before them, they do not disappoint with their roared vocal melodies and catchy lyrical phrases such as the album opening wail of "you're the wrong way...on a one way street".

Essentially, "Divides" is a cross between the Hot Water Music and Make Do And Mend, with a few curveballs thrown in your direction that sound like the melancholic skate punk on Lagwagon's 2005 album "Resolve". To capture that effect, the band utilizes two vocalists with an identical dynamic to HWM, but where the second guy otherwise sounds a bit like Joey Cape on a couple of songs. Here, the gravelly croons are replaced by a more melancholic singing style (see: "Sweet Vermouth" or "The Shortest Distance" for instance), which is fitting both for the individual songs but also for the album as a whole, as it adds variation to the typical beard punk sound these guys are so fond of. We also get to hear Garret Dale's (Red City Radio) charismatic vocals guesting during "Albatross", another band that by the sounds of it has influenced The Sky We Scrape prior to the writing of this album.

As a whole, "Divides" comes across as a more complex album than many of its punk rock contemporaries for a couple of reasons. One, the melodies are emotionally charged to the brink of bursting, the riffs are depth-laden and often layered to add to the soundscape, and the overall expression feels vibrant, honesty-driven, and well constructed throughout. It's one of those records where bullshit simply doesn't exist, and instead you're treated to melodic, subtly catchy riffs, anthemic vocal passages, and simple, but believable form of punk rock that you may have heard hundreds of times before, but it's still as enjoyable as ever. My only criticism is the slightly weaker second half of the record which feels less anonymous compared to especially the first 6 tracks, all of which nail the Hot Water Music expression to near-perfection.

Download: Continental Divide, Sing Your Way Home, The Shortest Distance
For the fans of: Make Do And Mend, Lagwagon, Pentimento, Hot Water Music
Listen: Facebook

Release date 19.02.2013
Paper + Plastick

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