‘Circle Round the Signs’ by Al Scorch - no holds barred blend of attitude and heritage(August 12, 2016)
The ‘first-listen’ process of review often judges an album unfairly and sometimes incorrectly. There’s no such fear with ‘Circle Round the Signs’ by Al Scorch. What you hear is exactly what you get and it’s a full-on, no holds barred blend of attitude and string band heritage, built on foundations from American and English folk added to Scorch’s uncompromising delivery.
The uncompromising drive of songs like ‘Pennsylvania Turnpike’, ‘Everybody Out’ and ‘Want One’ tear out their messages with an attention-grabbing shout-out, there’s a short-lived contrast as the aching pain of ‘Insomnia’ drifts between a heavy moan and an ‘angry as hell’ rant before the solemn ‘Lonesome Low’ revives the heartache, and then treats Woody Guthrie’s ‘Slipknot’ to a unique rendition. Scorch has a style undeniably his own and treats every song to its world-view, you only have to listen to ‘Poverty Draft’ and ‘Love After Death’ to experience the depth of his songwriting.
That ‘Circle Round The Signs’ is far more than an accomplished musician playing breakneck speed is obvious, certainly Scorch can rip it out with the best of them, but he can also take you to explore some dark and thoughtful places.
Review: Tom Franks