If the ferocity and song structure of metal had an affair with some Irish trad, the result would be along the lines of The Scratch. The quartet were subjects of a viral video from Rory Gallagher Fest last June, with a video of them busking garnering over a million views in just a week. The thoughts of something as intricate and abrasive of metal combining with trad is a difficult concept to get your head around but in practice, it just works.
‘Old Songs’ is a five track EP, showcasing a broad spectrum of talent from the foursome. A cover of The Dubliner’s McAlpines Fusiliers is an interesting addition and the only track on the EP that features vocals. While the vocals themselves aren’t incredible, there’s a certain endearing harshness and passion about them that gels with the musical delivery of the instrumentation perfectly.
Song titles like Drunken Crisp Fingers and Slan Connery give a clear indication that this is a bunch of mates having the craic and the various whoops and hollers throughout tracks further cement this. It’s music that doesn’t take itself super seriously but still comes across professionally, testament to the caliber of songwriting on show.
It’s refreshing to see a new lease of life given to acoustic instruments here by The Scratch with instruments that are usually soft and accompanied by crooning being used far more fervently than usual to create something that’s unusual.
While the EP is short, there isn’t a weak track on it. The first four tracks meld into a cataclysm of sound that’s over before you know it’s started.
The closing track, The Road to Ballyshannon, is a softer song that builds up over its six minute span and manages to be a stand out. What begins as delicate guitar playing is joined by other instruments, creating the kind of song that you can just close your eyes and listen to.
After recently collaborating with ex-Plec Pick Loah for a track recently, The Scratch illustrated that they are only on the beginning of their musical journey. No doubt these lads will feature heavily on the Irish festival circuit this summer.