Wreck and the Mess
October 4, 2011
Scotty Alan used to be a punk-rocker. This underlying edge transfers to his new Americana/Alt-Country release Wreck and the Mess. It’s not necessarily that Alan has mellowed; his music and lyrics with raspy and expressive vocals are still bright with energy, still darkly funny at times. But with this new countrified sound comes a heightened emotionality, and an outlook tested and tempered by experience.
The 15 songs, arranged in narrative sequence, reflect on a relationship gone bad. From wistful nostalgia (“Remember how when I was Your Hero?”) to downright despair (“…you rot from the inside…you’re A Long Ways From Laughing”). From bemused self-deprecation (“Ain’t Much, but I’m all you got”) to narcissistic cynicism (“the next time I fall in love I’m gonna Do It Alone”). As the album progresses the singer catches glimpses of life beyond his own perplexity and loss and captures it in his own consoling dark tenderness of Barn Dance (“Life’s a long row you best call the fiddler/ As you work the dirt in the valleys and hollows/ Where all you may leave your loving wife is a widow”). From questioning his content small town placement in Dusty Hollow (“Ain’t there something worth leaving for?”) to his own lament (“Like roots that seek deep dirt it’s Sinkin’ In”) we arrive at the albums lively closer of romantic rejuvenation (Said I’m looking for Someone To Fight…the world with”).