Scarling can be seen as continuation of the more melodic songs on Jack Off Jill's second album like Vivica and Strawberry Gashes. The songs are more subtle and lyrical than the extreme performances of Jack Off Jill. Because Scarling's songs seem more introspective and less immediate than those of Jessicka's former band, I think it does take a while to appreciate them. However, this is the type of album that really grows on you. There are only 7 tracks on the album so I think of it more as taster of what's to come as there have been some personnel changes within Scarling, so maybe now they've got a solid line-up they will come on more. The album artwork features more images by the artist Mark Ryden plus a couple of photos of the band. It was a shame they didn't print any of the lyrics as I love Jessicka's way with words.
The songs manage to have quite a full sound without seeming overdone and there is still plenty of variety in Jessicka's vocal performances. Jessicka's bittersweet vocals are complimented by beautiful music that's as dark and soft as black velvet. The music and imagery is picturesquely twisted and gothic with a small g with tributes to the actor Crispin Glover and dark love-songs like Baby Dracula and Alexander the Burn Victim. Scarling seem to have gone for a more alternative/indie sound like Sonic Youth or Lush rather than the hard rock/metal stylings of Jack Off Jill. In some ways then, this album is a good gentle introduction to the work of Jessicka. I think this album has been a great introduction to Scarling and I'm really looking forward to seeing how they develop. It's also worth looking out for their CD single of Band Aid Covers The Bullethole as it features an absolutely stunning version of Radiohead's Creep.
Originally published in December 2004.
NOTE: I know that technically the band name is spelt scarling. (i.e. all lower case with a full stop at the end) but if I try and write it like that it sends my spellcheck/formatting crazy.