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Skrape Up the Dose

By Mick Stingley, Contributor
Saturday, February 7, 2004 @ 9:58 PM


(RCA)

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I saw these guys last year on a bill with Spineshank and Ill Nino. They opened up the night, the first of a four-band show. Five crazy-looking scumbags, with almost no place to perform, (given the amount of stage taken up by the three other bands), unknown to most of the audience, and with only 15 minutes to play, Skrape gave their all, and got the attention of not only this reviewer, but the whole audience. Anyone who’s ever gone to a club and had to endure an endless parade of sub-par opening acts knows going on first is a bitch: people rarely pay attention, and tend to be fairly critical given how long they’ll be waiting to see the headliner. Plus, everyone is getting their load on, and jockeying for a cool spot, usually more interested in the people around them than the ones on stage. Skrape came on, blazed through four or five songs, and had the crowd jumping and cheering in short time. No small feat for any opener.

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When Up The Dose went to radio, I thought, “This can’t be the band that rocked so hard at that show…” It’s a fine song, but, like the first four tracks on their sophomore release, (“Bleach,” “Summer Song” and “In The End”), it certainly feels like songs you’d hear alongside staples from Korn or Trapt: tailor-made for contemporary rock-radio. BUT… skip ahead to the fifth song, and things really start taking off. This is what you want on your car stereo when you get out of work: music to speed by. Listen to songs like, “My Life,” “The Ocean,” “Syrup” or “Habit” and you will find the really good stuff, the hard, jumping essence of their live show.

It is on these songs where Skrape really packs a wallop. Billy Keeton’s voice is rough and soaring in general (read: not a whiner); and the thumping, pounding bass with heavy stop-start guitar brings to mind the Cult in their post-Rick Rubin days. “Syrup,” especially, has that coveted Sabbath-y groove that so many bands aim for but never quite nail; and they don’t waste the opportunity to improve upon it and make it their own. “No Respect,” the closer, is a fast, rip-roaring showcase for the rhythm section guaranteed to make you unconsciously bang your head along like dashboard dog.

This disc has been growing on me for some time now, and, save a couple of decent ballads, (“Breath” and “Searching For Home”), is nothing short of rockin’. (Had I overseen the order-of-song list, I would have started this disc at Track 5, and then circled back after the closer, into Track 1, ending with Track 4.) In any case, this disc, however you choose to hear it, has a lot of good stuff within, and deserves to be heard as something other than “radio-friendly.”

I’d say that having had Tommy Lee tap their drummer to round out his touring band a while back is a pretty good endorsement for Florida’s Skrape: and, like their drummer, this band hits hard and heavy throughout most of the disc. UP the volume on Up The Dose!

* * * ½


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