the Notes and Scratches

LEO Beat

tuesday, january 24th, 2006 at 02:03 pm

The Notes and Scratches
(Tense Forms)
kitchen sink pop
When all else fails, throw everything and the kitchen sink at the listener.
It’s a neat trick, and it works.
In addition to actual instruments, a yelp, a beer can, a saw and “junk” — no elaboration — show up on Uh-Oh, the jubilant full-length by Notes and Scratches. Yet instead of sending this 13-song effort straight into the musical trash bin, these knickknacks add a youthful exuberance that only comes when bands take chances.
“The Hours” introduces Uh-Oh with the sweet, spare notes of a glockenspiel. It switches to breakneck joyous pop-punk, back to glockenspiel and once more back to punk before coming to a satisfactory halt.
You barely have time to breathe before “In the Shadow Cast” infects your ear with aplomb. “The River Girl” skips along at a pace comparable to old Irish folk songs, while “Lines Reveal” is half song, half experimental, ambient needling, nicking and, yes, scratching.
Joshua Dumas’s raspy, pained voice is front and center on each tune except “In the Morning,” an instrumental ideal for listening when you’re cruising down River Road at light speed. “In the Evening” should close the next Michael Mann film. —Mat Herron

Mat Herron