Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Scarlet Stoic ~ Scarlet Stoic (aka debut) (EP)




(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: alt rock, progressive
Label: 2010
Year: self-released
Home: California

Members: Alex Zigo ~ guitar/vocals
Dave Sahlem ~ bass
David Lall ~ drums


Since the summer of 2008 the members of Scarlet Stoic have been anything but inactive as they developed their music, culminating in an EP. They label themselves punk on their myspace, so I hope they'll forgive me for saying this, but though Scarlet may want to be punk & might be fans of the genre they've done a great job of crafting what is actually alt rock/garage rock a la Mars Volta or Radiohead with far more commerical appeal than most punk will achieve. But, I'm sure Scarlet are just being modest by claiming they play the often seen as unchallenging & angst ridden punk music. If anything their music has more of a garage band psychedelic sound by way of Galaxie 500 & stoner rock & is more somber than angry. A highlight of the band is the vocal approach they've chosen. They don't scream, shout or create any type of indisguishable vocalization but rather have found a soft crooning (i.e. "From My Lantern", "Swollen Riddle") that often utilizes multiple voices in chorus providing a nice contrast to the alt rock wall of sound. Further, the vocals give a somber quality to the songs that isn't musically apparent. "Abandoned By Fate" is an instrumental, but sounds underdeveloped & demonstrates how valuable the vocals are to Scarlet. "Swollen Riddle" is a particular highlight that includes minimal lyrics & a bass interlude, particularly good for a live setting. "Until The Know" moves beyond a more hypnotic sound for something messier & little more wild vocally that ends up demonstrating that Scarlet are still developing their sound. But, all things come to a new level with "Salt & Stitch", their youngest child, which marks a new direction for the band on all fronts & shows what creativity is bursting inside them to be expressed when given the opportunity. The first reference that comes to mind is the Butthole Surfers largely due to the quircky talkie narration instead of their standard crooning over a steady rhythm & the guitar riffing between the verses. It also keeps the hypnotic approach of the band but pushes it into seven minutes, two minutes longer than anything else & the results are exciting & probably the most fully formed song in the Scarlet repertoire, let alone the most distinctive. I encourage the band to go in this direction with their next release. The pay-off will be worth the experiment, I'm sure of it.


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