REVIEW: Scantron “Palamino Blackwing”

When it comes to describing any indie band that in someway manages to get described as ‘Garage Rock’ the first thing that usually comes to mind is punk. Snotty, middle finger up, fidelity low, and energy cranked up to dangerous levels. But if garage rock has taught us anything, it’s that the definition of itself is not limited to just punk rock. Such is the case with Palamino Blackwing the second EP from Delaware’s very own, Scantron.

Scantron

There’s something social about forming a garage band that makes the music they create feel like home. You plug in your guitar, you set up your drums, your voice cracks into a low quality mic, it’s just what we do as youngsters. Maybe your friend plays bass? Maybe another friend has parents who are cool enough to let these kids take up residency in their garage? The whole general idea of forming a band without the pretentious intent of becoming a star over night, is just something we do when picking up instruments for the first time. When these kids find themselves on the same and begin working on original work, something magical happens: art is created. Within this do-it-yourself art, whether it be good or not so bad, it’s honest and real.

Scantron, while being seasoned musicians, have captured that innocence and magic of a garage band to a level where each of the songs on Palamino Blackwing sound familiar yet still incredibly fresh, as if they were written a few hours ago. The ‘do-it-yourself’ element is there in full swing but it has been perfected in ways that most garage outfits rarely achieve. The guitars are sweetly distorted, the bass is groovy and melodic, the beats are easy and on point, and the vocals are poised and focused on bringing their personal brand of rock n roll into your ears, to make your body feel the uncontrollable urge to move with the rhythm like good music is meant to do.

But as I mentioned earlier, the sounds here aren’t held captive by the traditional sense of what constitutes as the sub-genre of garage rock. The opening track “Am I Wrong?” features a fixed shuffle that is more reminiscent of mid-60s Motown than anything near the vicinity of punk. While “Sad Parade” has all the harmonies with starts and stops like the highest quality pop tunes of the late 50s and features a killer organ solo that fits so perfect that it just may be the highlight of the entire release. “As Long As There’s Enough” sounds like what would happen if The Walkmen would cover JJ Jackson’s “But It’s Alright” with slightly distorted vocals and an actual brass ensemble as an unexpected surprise.

Palamino Blackwing is an unexpected EP of fun, energetic, rock n roll with just enough hints of R&B and retro stylings to keep it familiar but never pretentious or as if Scantron is trying to buy their way into some sort of hipster scene. Everything about it just seems authentic, capturing that same magical appeal of those do-it-yourself garage band endeavors, elevated to something far greater. Palamini Blackwing is available on the band’s bandcamp page, but it has also been issued on vinyl by Lazy Boy Record Co. in limited edition color variants, that look just as amazing as they sound. The idea of hearing something so honest, retro, fresh, on beautifully crafted vinyl just completes the entire package and reminds us why we all love the authenticity of garage rock in the first place, and arguably music in general.

Purchase Palamino Blackwing on vinyl, exclusively at Lazy Boy Record Co.

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Visit Scantron on Bandcamp

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Aaron The Audiophile

Son, brother, uncle, musician. I enjoy music of all genres, shapes and sizes, preferably the good kind.

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