Birmingham’s Table Scraps has been consistently at the top of the Album of the Year list here at 50thirdand3rd and they have been carving their own path with what is now a trio of albums concocted with a potent elixir of garage, psych, doom, and fuzz. And although the subject matter of their new album ‘Coffin Face‘ may be heavy (the apocalypse!), the band manages to sprinkle a little sugar over the 10 tracks, making this another contender for the top of the yearly list.
‘Coffin Face‘ was originally conceived as a concept album in 2018, built around the theme of a band emerging “from the rubble of a post-apocalyptic event, the very real catastrophe of 2020 meant that the LP became a soundtrack to reality rather than something more fanciful.”
In typical Scraps fashion, there are some heavy riffs here, and the band has always been skilled at incorporating some serious heavy metal chops into their garage-fuzz sound. But the ghost of Dick Dale is definitely haunting this record, moving in and out of almost every track. Vocalist-guitarist Scott Vincent Abbott conjures the sonic texture of the surf rock God using a mix of 12 and 6 string guitars and on a song like the opener ‘Threads‘ the jagged middle eastern tension and Sabbath breakdown, are a perfect mix of styles. Album standout, ‘Apology‘ has definite surf rock undertones, and has some of the pop sugar sprinkled over the chorus and chord progression. Its catchy three-part harmony even recalls the Mamas & the Papas and points the compass in a direction we can only hope they explore more thoroughly.
‘Big Man‘ is a heavy hitter, tackling the subject of toxic masculinity complete with an epic arena rock riff and some Queen-like bombast, driven by the pounding rhythm section of drummer Poppy Twist and bassist TJ Mobbs. On ‘Judas Christ‘ Twist and Mobbs immediately set down a hard, stomping groove that rocks hard when Abbott’s six-string fuzz kicks in. ‘You Only Wanna Get High‘ is a 60s garage stomper while ‘Never Liked It Anyway‘ grooves like a distant cousin of Agent Orange’s ‘Bloodstains‘. The trippy psychedelia picks up with ‘God of the Rainbow‘ followed by two riff-heavy numbers – the surf fuzz of ‘Heat Beat‘ and the crunching aptly titled ‘Doom Generation‘. The album closes with the dark and dreamy 50s pop of ‘Heartache‘, a track that could easily slide onto a David Lynch soundtrack.
‘Coffin Face‘ feels and sounds like a band really coming into their own and it’s their finest work yet. I would even say it could be their breakthrough album if that was still a thing. The Table Scraps elixir is ready to be drawn.