‘Daughter Of Everything’
This is the debut album by Vertical Scratchers and it’s utterly brilliant. I shouldn’t really be surprised by this. Vertical Scratchers, you see, feature a certain John Schmersal – a part of the talent behind magnificent 90s Dayton Ohio Touch And Go Records shronk-rockers Brainiac (whose wonderful burst of creativity and incredible music was cruelly cut short with the sudden death of frontman Tim Taylor in a car accident), he then went on to form Enon, continuing to make eclectic and challenging, yet always melodic and pleasurable music.
Vertical Scratchers very much continues down the path that Schmersal has travelled since the beginning. ‘Daughter Of Everything’ is quirky, jarring and sometimes disconcerting yet from beginning to end and top to bottom it is gloriously melodic. Every song crackles with addictive melodies and sublime harmonies, split between John and his partner in the band – ex-Triclops!/Anywhere man Christian Beaulieu. They met at a Thanksgiving party, started hanging out and writing songs and very quickly, and very naturally a great musical partnership began to flourish and the songs began to flow.
The highlights are many. ‘You Dug Us All’ is pure Shins, Pinback, Heavy Vegetable style quirky harmonies and prime-rump American indie rock, whilst opening track ‘Wait No Longer’ kicks into life with some high-octane drumming from Beaulieu. ‘Pretend You Are Free’ and ‘Rainbows’, on the other hand, shimmer with Beach Boys/Beatles inspired harmonies that are both sublime and beautiful.
Vertical Scratchers have delivered a classic American indie rock album that sounds effortless, fresh and exciting. Not that we should be surprised by this, it’s nothing that John Schmersal hasn’t achieved before.
Pick this up from Merge immediately.