Scott and Charlene's Wedding - Any Port In A Storm

by Steve Reynolds Rating:8 Release Date:2013-07-22

I have had the pleasure of reviewing Scott and Charlene's Wedding debut from 2011: Para Vista Social Club and recently their Two Weeks EP which precedes this newie, Any Port in a Storm. One immediate difference between the two long-players is the expansion in sound. PVSC was stripped bare musically but Port is much more expansive.

Yes, the indie, lo-fi rumblings continue ubiquitously but the arrangement is sharper, brighter and has a cocky glint in its eye. Craig Dermody's withdrawn, supine vocal continues to charm but seems to have adopted an element of Violent Femme's Gordon Gano's non-singing-style of nasal brevity.

Where Dermody's songs were once terse and curtailed, this time they come with an air of confidence. He still focusses on the daily grind (see 'Clock Out and Leave') but with a sense of irony in his voice. Surely everything you hear on Any Port isn't true, right?

The lo-fi slacker aesthetic runs through the core of S&CW but this time comes with the added maelstrom of fuzz, distortion and melodies punching through on the effervescent, Velvets-esque 'Jackie Boy' right through to the galloping guitars on 'Downtown'. However, it isn't all 100mph stuff. 'Spring St' is Dermody's slowie. He goes all insular and longing, talks about a street which reminds him of a lost love: "You went from me to him/ I had to see you for myself down on Spring St/ and I guess you didn't think I'd show".

He ain't too happy on it. Armed initially with some acoustic guitar, he swiftly moves through the gears to bring the rest of his band to the table and sweep away all the gloom with a treasure trove of heavy, psychedelic guitar storms. A show of defiance, a sign to say he's moved on? Yeah, maybe.

'Gammy Leg' is simply funny when it really shouldn't be. Falling down a hole, splitting his leg open then slicing open old wounds on the basketball court. All sung deliciously in Dermody's atonal vocal, it's chalk to the music's cheese.

The downtrodden 'Charlie's in the Gutter' is set to some quick-firing guitar-play and rattles with pinpoint verve and guile. Closer 'Wild Heart' is a swirling wig-out on which Dermody delivers his parting shot: "We don't always get what we want/ that's just rock 'n' roll". Maybe he is right on that one, but Any Port in a Storm should elevate his band to the next level.

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