SCARPA’s “tempvs fvckit” makes me long for the beauty and raw passion of the early aughts indie rock. I’m talking about Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Modest Mouse, that sort of sound right at the peak of their power. The songs do not even request volume they bring it for these are raw, jagged-edged sorts of rock, the kind that feel completely free. Vulnerability reigns supreme over these tracks and there is a heartfelt quality to the approach that I find refreshing. As opposed to the oftentimes too polished production that I hear on a day-to-day basis, it is nice to listen to the kind of group that holds nothing back, that shows it all off.
When I first met SCARPA, it was on the roof of a small apartment building in Ridgewood, Queens over a decade ago. My life was sort of aimless at the time, and most of my free time was spent with musicians. SCARPA had already gotten multiple bands together, not with their titular last name, but usually incredibly honest stuff. I remember thinking when I first heard his music how intimate it was. Now, years later, reviewing their most recent album, I can see how that initial impulse for an imperfect beauty has continued on throughout the whole of their discography.
Opening things up on a strong note is the chaotic “all the king’s horses…might as well!”. A true “fuck it” disposition sets in as his voice rises above the din. Lyrics show off their wry attitude for the guitars are fuzzed out beyond belief. The multi-suite aspect brings to mind some of Mayo Thompson’s “Corky’s Debt to His Father” in terms of its unhinged power. Pure adrenaline rushes through the animalistic “the same time/breakfast” for the verses are sung with a bleary hangover ethos. For whatever reason, “falling apart” gives me a strong early Pavement vibe, as the dazed quality of the song has a kindness despite its lo-fi origins.
“everything’s ok” gets washed in a yellowed nostalgia. The yearning aspect of the verses suddenly bursts forth when they let the sound quite literally explode. Drums pound on through with a sense of urgency on the tense “dislike”. Outright psychedelic rock comes into the fray with “polden’ na lysoy gore”. Full of guitar work that has a Flaming Lips bliss behind it, the song has a reassuring quality to it. Doing a bit of a 180 is the fantastic finale “tempvs fvckit” which ends the album off with a ramshackle folksy aspect, with the lyrics having a poignant yet playful attitude.
“tempvs fvckit” rules and SCARPA proves to be a true force of nature holding absolutely nothing back at all.