This is Scarling's first full-length album (following on from a couple of singles and an EP/mini album, Sweetheart Dealer) which has seen another change of personnel. Personally, I thought the songs sounded stronger and more substantial. Scarling have gone for an indie/alternative sound reminiscent of some of the early 90s bands like My Bloody Valentine or Lush with a "thick" guitar sound that creates a shimmering wall of sound effect that washes over you in hazy sonic waves. Both the music and Jessicka's vocals are strong without veering back into heavy metal/hard rock territory. I thought the songs were able to showcase the power of Jessicka's voice without resorting to the screaming histrionics of her previous band, Jack Off Jill (who I was also a fan of). Scarling are a more subtle band dealing in the infinite shades of mood rather than straightforward black and white emotions but still managing to evoke a perfect bittersweetness.
When I saw them live in Newcastle they were excellent --- musically and vocally on great form, sounding even more powerful than they do on CD without ever losing their focus or sense of dark beauty that surrounds them. Personally, I'd also love to hear Scarling perform some of Jessicka's Jack Off Jill songs live as I think it would be interesting to hear them re-interpreted in this different but equally striking style.
NOTE: It's worth checking out their singles which contain non-album tracks which are usually excellent. Their latest single, City Noise features a cover version of The Pixies song Wave of Mutilation and a beautiful song with a slight psychedelic feel, Staring Into The Sun.
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN MAY 2008.