There is something fresh yet deeply familiar about the self titled debut album from Texas band Scorpion Child. If you didn’t know any better you would probably have thought that they had been around for at least a decade, so grizzled and wordly wise is their sound. Clearly raised on a diet of Led Zeppelin with a side order of Rainbow, this is what my mother and father used to refer to as “hard rock”. There are no breakdowns, no airs, graces or temper tantrums. In their place you get a solid set of blues soaked rifferama, guitar solos dipped in vats of bourbon and vocals that have been sponsored by Marlboro. The Red pack, for real smokers, not that Lights stuff, obviously.
You have heard most of this stuff before: on dog eared vinyl; on bootlegged cassettes; on 8-tracks; in rock clubs and concert halls; in darkened back bedrooms. This is the hard rock of your youth, or your dad’s youth, stripped down, pared back and delivered fresh from the oven like a new loaf of bread. It’s retro in a good way; it may be derivative but it’s delivered with such a passion and vigour you can’t but helped be swept along by the chutzpah and the straight down the line sheer LOVE the band have for this kind of music.
Take the oustanding Polygon of Eyes as a simple but brilliantly effective example; it’s all swirling guitars, pounding drums and lyrics about mountains, mortality and open skies. If you could make music smell this would reek, REEK, of patchouli oil. On the equally brilliant Antioch the vocals range of lead singer Aryn Jonathan Black really comes into its own- by turns understated, emotional and then full on rockin’ your cranium, his vocal performance has you checking your calendar that its 2013 and not 1972. Ive picked these two tracks as they hit me hard on first listen but I could easily point at the hard rockin maelstrom of Paradigm or the red wine lovin Into the Arms of Ecstasy just as easily. Or the effervescent The Secret Spot or Kings Highway. I hope you’re getting the idea….
Scorpion Child would have flourished in the early 1970s; it scarcely matters. I’m just happy that in 2013 they have turned in a record that should be filed under “One for the storming of the barn.” Do yourself a favour when you finish work, today. Crack open a cold one, turn this up loud and absent-mindedly wonder where this has been all your life. Outstanding.