Writing About Music Is Like Dancing About Architecture.
Scrambled Debutante is a band that tries to defy traditional definition and succeeds deliciously. Their debut album, Fabric Friends, moves easily from one style to another, presenting the listener with an irresistible smorgasbord of style and sound.
The band is compromised of four San Francisco residents who are as eclectic as one might expect. Vocalist Trizha Stevens is a graduate of the Los Angeles Music School who has chosen to forsake her nascent operatic career for "something with more grind to it, more energy." As she put it in a recent interview. Guitarist, Orange, is the most recently departed member of local punk legend, Crappy Intercom, and I'm sure the other members are lovely people, but I've lost the cocktail napkin that I scrawled my notes upon.
Regardless, the music. The album is short, yet long, with ten tracks and a total running time of forty-two minutes. Scrambled Debutante use this as an opportunity to explore styles from dismally-gothic to swing-flavored rockabilly, sometimes within a single song.
There is a certain domestic theme to some tracks: "Licking Formica" is a rollicking ska frenzy about nicotine addiction while "Eat My Playdoh" is an unsettling merger of Trizha's little-girl falsetto, a nigh-subsonic bassline and, apparently, variety of fifty-five gallon drums acting as percussion. "Tastes better than paste/sticky in my fingers" is the breathy vocal that managed to deeply unsettle this reviewer's denmate.
Another memorable track is the dirge-like "Cat's Meow" that beautifully showcases the band's technical ability and ailurophilia with a discordant vibrato reminiscent of a tiger's purr. The complicated tribal-style drumming of "Little Soldiers" - its staccato presence reinforced by subtle, tapping percussion - bounces pleasantly around the skull long after listening.
A significant amount of credit should be given to the album's producer, Paul Peters. Peters has put his extensive time with heavily layered complexities as the new age sensation Air Pudding by Clear Mind, to versatile use when mixing Fabric Friends. His deft touch, which can make the simple sublime, is his signature upon this album.
Overall, this is a strong debut album, demonstrating Scrambled Debutante's fantastic versatility and dedication to blatant musical aesthetics, ensuring in my opinion a strong, dynamic future for this band. Upon first exposure, you will be addicted to their compelling sound.
Assuming you have no taste, that is.
It's called 'parody' kiddies - The Maternal Jackal.
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