Hi Scott and George, I liked your song "Wallflower's Lament" with it's quirky style and narrative. Good use of metaphors to describe the story. I can see this song in a TV show or movie used quite effectively to describe a scene or relationship. The song was delivered with a confident vocal style with distinctive artful inflections. I also liked the bluesy arrangement (that creates a visual club atmosphere) the perfect backdrop for your lyrics and this style of song/blues. Wishing you continued success with your music, Mike
- John Lennon Songwriting Contest's "Tuesday Afternoon" special with judge Mike Pinder of the Moody Blues
On their 1996 album "The Half Step Evolution," the Missing Links released a song called "I've Given You Everything." The song is a sour, hard-driving stomp that seems unspectacular until the musical interlude that appears to build to a breakneck guitar lead. Instead of delivering on this promise, however, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Scott Cleveland delivers a full 16-measure church bell solo, breaking the tension and leaving listeners scratching their heads, but smiling.
In 2009, the band, now called Scrap Iron Sun, delivered "Getting a Rusty Tan." Despite the name change and beefed-up lineup, the same sense of discovery and good humor show up on this disc as well. Although the band's sound is largely rooted in the classic rock of the Who, the Kinks and a host of others, unexpected artistic decisions sprinkled liberally throughout the 15 tracks keep the music from sounding generic or forgettable.
"Excuses" starts the album off on a good foot, with fuzzy power chords balanced by a trance-like, repeated synthesizer line. The lyric is vitriolic but seemingly only half-serious, delivered with a good dose of both real frustration and detached smugness. "Wallflower's Lament" puts you in a smoked-out barroom with a jazzy horn section cleverly interwoven with a walking piano groove.
"Better Off" features a tribal drum beat from Ray Brouillette and yet another bitter lyric about rejection, but the animal noises that form a groove during the drum breaks again keep the song from feeling overly serious. George Condon's lead guitar fireworks in "Don't Lose Your Sleep" and "Big Brother" push the songs to another level, and Brouillette and bassist David Holloway form a rock-solid and equally mobile rhythm section that make these two songs true standouts-no church bell solos on these tracks. Sandwiched by two of the loudest songs on the collection, "I'm Still Sane" is even more stunning in contrast. Owing a debt to the Moody Blues, this song features a recorder and syrupy lead guitar from Cleveland as well as one of the band's more sentimental and thoughtful lyrics.
"Mr. Hate" and "Borrowed Time" jangle and bounce their way along, with the former featuring Beatle-esque vocal harmonies and the latter boasting a lyric consisting of cliché phrases strung together in sing-song fashion for nearly three minutes.
Holloway's silky bass line in "The Girl Next Door" adds momentum to the song's basic three-chord progression, with the help of a dueling lead guitars and strong backup vocals. Finishing up the album, "Getting a Rusty Tan under the Scrap Iron Sun" is already unique in the fact that it is a title track for both the album (first half of the title) and the band (second half). An instrumental, the tune benefits greatly from Brouillette's drum fills and Cleveland's constant lead. According to Cleveland, the song is meant to create images of surfing on molten iron pouring in a foundry. If you're curious to hear what that sounds like, take a listen for yourself.
- by R. Bell
Despite joining forces in 2008, the rockers of West Springfield band Scrap Iron Sun possess a history that goes back further than just five years.
Featuring members Scott Cleveland (guitar, keyboards, harmonica, lead vocals), George Condon (guitar, vocals), Ryan Bell (bass) and David Condon (drums), the group has roots that go all the way back to the '80s, when Cleveland and guitarist Condon used to play together in a collection of bands in th area. Then in 2007, after not playing with each other in some time, the pair decided to team up again after being encouraged by a friend.
Cleveland says, "In August of 2007, after George and I hadn't played together in about eight years, a friend of ours suggested we should start up again and do a CD. We spent time going through different songs I wrote that I hadn't been able to do anythng with, and we started recording again. We finished our first Scrap Iron Sun CD, Getting a Rusty Tan, in 2010. In 2011 we started playing shows on a regular basis and working on new material, and we released Recycled in early 2012."
As far as the story behind the band's unusual moniker, Cleveland claims that, too, was inspired by the words of a friend.
"I was in the Northampton Brewery with a friend of ours named Marty, having a beer, when Marty said, 'I think I'm getting a rusty tan,'" says Cleveland. "I gave Marty a puzzled look, and in response Marty pointed to the decoration over the bar and said, 'From the scarp iron sun hanging over the bar.' In my (then) current state, I thought the comment was pure genius. Hence we became Scrap Iron Sun.
With hard-charging tracks like "Can't," "Fuse," and "I've Given You Everything," the band has carved a niche for itself as a progenitor of "polished garage rock," with some fans comparing the group's "loud and fast" sound to the likes of the Dead Kennedys, the Black Keys and The Who. However, thanks to its frequent use of vocal harmonies and incorporation of instruments like horns, organ and banjo, Scrap Iron Sun has even found itself getting acknowledgement from one of the staple bands of classic rock radio.
"Mike Pinder of the Moody Blues actually gave a song called 'Wallflower's Lament' from [Getting a Rusty Tan] a very positive review for a songwriting contest," says guitarist Condon.
And Scrap Iron Sun hopes to build off such encouraging words by writing more material and heading back into the studio soon to record another album.
Condon says, "We've been working on new songs to play out throughout 2013 and we'll hit the studio to record some of them late in the year. Our goal is to get the next disc wrapped up by late 2013, early 2014."
- Valley Advocate, Tuesday, January 29, 2013 by Mechael Cimaomo
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