- 03 Apr 20
Dublin folk-metallers deliver triumphant debut.
Emerging as a raw, balls to the wall alternative to neatly packaged and polished acts with the release of their debut EP in 2018, The Scratch have consistently thrown predictability to the wind – embracing absurdity and anarchy in equal measure, as they garner legions of devotees off the back of their famously raucous live shows. Their latest trick has turned out to be their most brilliant move yet: releasing their aptly titled debut album, Couldn’t Give A Rats, three months early, in an effort to spread positivity during these anxiety-ridden times.
Blurring the boundaries between folk and heavy music in their own wildly unique way, the Dublin-based four-piece have resonated powerfully with a generation who are more than happy to pack their playlists with Lankum and Ye Vagabonds alongside Fontaines D.C. and Girl Band. With Couldn’t Give A Rats, The Scratch take this approach to bold new territories – with ‘Seanchaí’ leaning closer into trad than ever, while simultaneously abiding by metal principles. ‘Session Song’ is a slow-building ballad about “slaves to the weekend” and the inevitable come-down, with more than a few nods to Damien Dempsey; while the cello-assisted ‘Underworld’ exposes a surprisingly tender underbelly. The poignant ‘Birdie’, meanwhile, is one of the album’s most blindsiding moments – the finest ode to an Irish granny since Thin Lizzy’s original ‘Sarah’ from Shades of a Blue Orphanage.
Of course, that’s not to say that the brazenness has gone anywhere – the album opens with the line “Take a bow, you’re a top-class cunt”, after all. Like a conversation with an old, drunk stranger in the pub, The Scratch’s lyrics continue to sway between gems of battle-won wisdom and the ramblings of a madman. While producer Aidan Cunningham skilfully captures the raw spectacle, heavy rhythms and vicious energy of their live shows, there’s also plenty of room for their triumphant melodies and dazzling chops to shine.
With Couldn’t Give A Rats, the band have crafted one of the boldest Irish debuts of recent memory – expanding their sound and vision, while still holding onto the wild impulses that mark The Scratch as one of the country’s most spectacularly original talents.
Limited edition double gatefold vinyl available to pre-order here.