The Road Back to Music Journalism #3: Dr Scardo’s Dark Dog Days Album
Discovering a New Album Through Twitter
You may recall Simon Scardanelli as part of the 1980s pop group Big Bam Boo. The group had hits that charted in the UK and Canada back in 1989. While publishing Geoff Wilbur’s Renegade Newsletter, in the mid-nineties I reviewed the album Death Row Tales by Simon’s band The Eye Camera. He and I remained in contact through the years. And in the summer of 2013, I spotted a tweet from Simon saying that he was offering a copy of his latest album, Dr Scardo’s Dark Dog Days, as a free download for a week so his fans could check it out. Intrigued, I downloaded it and dove in.
Why This Was a Step on the Road Back
This album was the first music I had decided to download based on a tweet. Indeed, I hadn’t been using any online source to find new music. And even though this album was downloaded on a whim, it finally sparked in me a desire to seek out new music online. Partly because it was unlike any of the music I heard on the radio, I suppose, it refreshed my desire to listen to music I couldn’t otherwise easily find. And even though I had known Simon previously, the new music I began to seek out after this was by other artists who I hadn’t previously known about. In fact the rest of my “Road Back” series will be about these other artists, all of whom I’ve discovered since the day in 2013 I donwloaded Dark Dog Days on a whim. At this point on the “road,” I didn’t have even the slightest hint that I would want to write about music again, but the ball was certainly rolling downhill.
The Album Review of Dr Scardo: Dark Dog Days
Dark Dog Days is a powerful statement about the state of the world. It’s a very issue-driven album. It’s dark. It’s often angry, sometimes brooding, other times melancholy, but mostly insistent, as if an album with an opinion, demanding to be heard. Musically, it’s modern, darkly moody rock with a nod to a synch-pop/rock past.
The dark-pop disc-opener, “Leave Us Alone,” is more than just a disaffected youth anthem; it channels the anger of all people marginalized by society. It’s followed by “Wall Street Hustle,” mixing a catchy recurring rhythm and hook into a lyrical soup attacking Wall Street and politicians for their damage to the working population with a tone that screams anger but also carries a hint of resignation about the way the world works.
Also worth noting: “End of the World” takes a look at civil disobedience and the resistance of the power establishment to protesters’ interests. “Dark Horse Damned” takes a shot at the overmedication of kids. “Resolution Oil” is a 7-minute, exceptionally engaging epic reproach of the oil industry and its impact on the world’s population. Even “If You Could See Me Now,” a 1989 Big Bam Boo song, is given a new, updated, fully modern dark rock treatment, emerging as a sort of slow, insistent, pleading ballad.
And finally, the title track takes aim at the way consumer commercialism has overwhelmed people’s lives so much that its importance in people’s lives has blinded them to what’s being done in the world right before their eyes. It’s amazing a nine-plus minute song can seem to go by so quickly, but like everything on the album, it’s well-crafted and features exceptional musicianship.
Whether or not you agree with its social commentary, Dark Dog Days, as an album, is an artistic masterpiece.