Scott Warren - Quick Fix Bandage
Owain Paciuszko 06/08/2009
The title of this LP from Missouri-born singer-songwriter Scott Warren seems to suggest his music is acting as some sort of anesthetic for romantic pains, and the lyrics of lead track Before You Say Goodbye lend more than a little creedence to this theory. Warren conducts his mourning through a sort of upbeat Americana sound, much like a lighter Wilco. Meanwhile the dreamy Laugh Through The Pain has an air of Elliot Smith in full Brian Wilson-influenced mode, and its repeated vocals of 'I love you, yes, I love you' is both tear-inducingly joyful and knowing-smile-renderingly heartbreaking. It's almost a shame that Warren doesn't push his emotions and performance into that voice-gratingly emotional tortured arena that The Veils toy with to suitably 'Is he allright?' effect.
Along For The Ride is a slow, lazy number with a pleasingly woozy sound, that shows that a move to Los Angeles hasn't taken the country out of Warren. This solo-effort is Warren's first outside of his regular indie-rock group Signal Hill Transmission, wherein the Wilco-influence bleeds over, albeit through a slightly poppier filter; indeed it's no surprise to discover that the group have soundtracked the likes of 90210 and the film Firehouse Dog. It's rather strange to feel that a solo-artist has a bigger sound than his own band, but on this record Warren has ring-mastered the surrounding instrumentation to an effect far more impressive than on his band's work to date.
What really strikes here though is Warren's knack for memorable hooks, even on the slower, softer tracks such as Don't Tell Me, you still get the sense that this'll be rattling around your head for the rest of the day. It's not a perfect record, with I Got Your Back sounding like a lame Eels demo and Speed of Sound a very predictable country pop track. But either side of this mid-way hiccup are more sombre and charming slices of Warren's unrequited, optimistic alt-country.
The record ends with a cover of 70's folk rock group America's Sister Golden Hair, which is a decent country song played well by Warren, and with its tale of a man indecisive about his future with a girl he's due to marry seems to like a suitably confused point for this LP to close. Warren has done nothing revolutionary on this album, but what makes it appeal is that he's taken a decent, no-frills approach to making good music, intentionally avoiding any production whizz-bangs in order to capture good musicians playing good music.