This Chicago native leads his ensemble through some frantic banjo led music that is part punk-pluck, part folk, part people perception, part soul and part Pogues. This mix, while not unique, is still pretty invigorating and a whole bunch of fun. The 11 musicians listed blend their individual backgrounds into a cohesive whole that utiliizes string band instrumentation with trumpet, clarinet and Hammond organ to let Scorch tell tales of his hometown (Chicago) or unusual job choices (The Hearse Driver) and the state of life and the planet (Giant Wars And Dinosaurs).
This is music laced with an understanding of human nature that is as diverse as the roots of the music. The songs are delivered as frantic uptempo tales of tough tribulations (Hard Times) to the more melodic tale of heartbreak (Movie Picture) and, on occasion, the more undulating title track, a song of tragedy that still resonates.
A short album that clocks in at just under half an hour it none-the-less packs a punch that makes it stand out from a lot of bands that have mined similar roots and would likely not displease some fans of early Avett Brothers. Al Scorch though, has his own voice and it's a good one. And his ensemble back him up in every way.