A horrible hack

The Scarecrow Frequency

Fire Island

Year Released: 2010
Format: Download
Label: The Static Cult
Reviewed by Oli Saunders on Oct 14, 2010
In the last six to twelve months I have fallen in love with a new genre of music. You think you know your tastes perfectly after obsessing over music for well over a decade but it turns out you know fuck all. Tastes change with time (both through repeated listens and just because they goddamn want to), and there are so much potential subtleties that can affect your perceptions. Over time music you once thought was amazing you can no longer stand or even believe you once enjoyed, whilst bands you wouldn't have even given a chance to seem to now define you to some extent. Well, this is how it is for me anyway.

The band that has mainly been blowing my mind in recent times is Duster. I don't want to go into them too much right now as this is not a Duster review, but my love for them is what has led me to The Scarecrow Frequency and other bands like them. I don't know what it is, but the fairly slow, fairly lo-fi, fairly repetitive, and fairly minimalistic instruments are just perfect. There's something them that post-rock just cannot even come close to. I think a lot of people will find it boring (and depressing) but it just makes me wanna run around everywhere playing it and telling everyone how good it is. Combine the instruments with some fairly monotonic vocals, sometimes infrequent in songs and sometimes frequent, and you have a style of music that I can pretty much play non stop and always enjoy. Sometimes I have enough for one day but the next I'm back on it.

I don't like to review digital records, but this EP is only available in this format and I really wanted to write some words about it as well as the earlier words about the genre. The Scarecrow Freqeuncy is pretty much one guy, John Argetsinger (though I should also mention that Chris Totten also contributes to this record), sitting around writing the kind of music I have been describing. It is a bit like Duster but there are subtle variances. There is no bass guitar, and significantly more general noisy ambience. However like Duster, each song is built upon various layers but then proceeds to play out in a slightly meandering way but which is built on basic foundations. In earlier albums John's vocals are only occasional but on Fire Island he utilises them much more, which is a very good thing. The earlier album 'Terminal Eclipse' has a lot or audio samples which were nice but used a bit too much - this feature is toned down significantly here. Fuck it really is quite depressing sounding too. One of my friend's made fun of me by playing out a death sequence in a film when I played him some Duster - slow motion desperation and all that - I can totally see his point - it's not music to cheer you up. Overall, I cannot recommend this enough if you like any of the underpinning features I have described. This album is available as a free download on The Static Cult website so you really have no excuse if you have an interest. If not, maybe check back in ten years and we can chat then.

15th October 2010
Recommended record by Collective Zine!

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