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Attica! Attica! - Napalm and Nitrogen (Cover Artwork)

Attica! Attica!

Attica! Attica!: Napalm and NitrogenNapalm and Nitrogen (2009)
self-released

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: Dante3000Dante3000
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Aaron Scott is, if nothing else, an artist who embraces change. In 2007 he left behind the more straight-ahead punk sounds of Marathon with Attica! Attica!'s debut, Dead Skin/Dried Blood. Gone were the blazing guitars, pounding drums and even the screaming. In its place were sweeping arrangements, o.


Aaron Scott is, if nothing else, an artist who embraces change. In 2007 he left behind the more straight-ahead punk sounds of Marathon with Attica! Attica!'s debut, Dead Skin/Dried Blood. Gone were the blazing guitars, pounding drums and even the screaming. In its place were sweeping arrangements, orchestral instruments and laments of traveling and growing up. So it only stands to reason Attica! Attica!'s latest album, Napalm and Nitrogen, would follow the trend of musical reinvention and Scott does not disappoint.

While a title like Napalm and Nitrogen might lead some to expect music more along the lines of Scott's older projects (Marathon / De La Hoya), the album instead veers further into the singer/songwriter aspect, embracing a very minimalist approach to much of the music. The opener "Elk Rock Island" is a glaring contrast to the opener of the previous Attica! Attica! opener, "Motion Sickness." While "Motion Sickness" was a downbeat, richly instrumented number about feeling helpless in modern society, "Elk Rock Island" is upbeat and worthy of the moniker "ditty," with Scott joyously singing about the benefits of removing yourself from the sterility of today's world and simply playing in the woods or swimming in the sea. It's the sort of simple yet honest message and music that fills this album.

The album is carried on Scott's voice, accompanied only by an acoustic guitar and piano. While it is disappointing to not have a repeat of some of the array of music that filled Dead Skin/Dried Blood this new sound matches the tone and the message of the album perfectly. Simplicity is key here (as witnessed by Scott's latest effort, the "Ditch the Van" Tour). If a song doesn't need additional musicianship, cut it. This technique could easily lead to stripped-down, boring songs but Scott keeps everything moving with his bouncing melodies and vivid storytelling. Another technique that Scott incorporates his vocal harmonizing. On several tracks there are multiple vocal layers that add a richer "sing-along" feel to the songs.

The tone isn't all berries and bike rides. Scott allows the subject matter to take a darker turn on occasion, touching on unfulfilled goals, feelings of isolation and growing up and losing your hopes and spirit. But never does he allow these topics to encompass the subject matter, even in songs they are on. Scott never serves up despair without offering hope. For every slow "Tyler and Maria Were Right" there's a rip-roaring "Hobo Chili" to balance it out. This keeps the album from ever wallowing in self-pity or despair and instead takes the tone of introspection, looking at your own problems and concerns but never allowing them to consume everything you are.

If Dead Skin/Dried Blood was about traveling and struggling to make a change, then Napalm and Nitrogen is about reaching the conclusion that the best change is the ones you can do every day. The album rejoices in taking time to sing, to dance and to be conscious of the world around you. And if that's not enough make you listen, it's also free. In the ultimate tribute to simplicity Scott has forgone physical media and is allowing the album to be downloaded for free (though donations are appreciated) here. In a world where even upstart bands weigh themselves down with slick production, over-the-top marketing, lofty musical themes that ultimately fall flat and aspirations of tour buses, Aaron Scott has managed to take time to enjoy the simple things and in doing so, elevate them to something more.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
mikexdude (October 5, 2009)

Also, Mike, you know I love you, so perhaps we can have a discussion about this on AIM one day, but I'm a bit curious as to what's exactly wrong with Aaron writing a record that's "just for him". Aren't most records written solely for the band or artist in question? I didn't think bands particularly wrote records that had to necessarily please the masses.

Yo B, I guess what I mean is that I just don't feel like he addresses his audience well. I guess it's kind of the difference between writing a diary and writing a memoir. This kinda' gives off the vibe it wasn't meant to be heard by anyone, which like I said, isn't a bad thing. It's very interesting and goose bump inducing, but it's hardly engaging.

onegirlarmy (October 5, 2009)

Sorry to flood with comments, but my session timed out and this got erased from the last one.

Interesting and I guess cool to see that this record is getting more people checking it out, at least on here, then Dead Skin did. I did the review for that record on the org two years ago and it didn't get that many comments, positive or negative. Maybe because this one is free, or Aaron's currently on tour? Or maybe due to his tour journal posted here a few weeks back? All of the above? Either way, really awesome to see people checking his stuff out.

onegirlarmy (October 5, 2009)

I really questioned my own review after checking out some of the comments, so I went back and listened to it. I still absolutely love it. I don't know if it's because I saw Aaron live before I heard this and thus heard some of the songs live first, or if I relate to it more after talking to him (I know I'm so cool) but I still love this record. Maybe it's just an aging punk thing.
-Dante


Hmm, just out of curiosity, why would you question your own review just because some don't agree? I 100% relate to the songs on here, and maybe it is just an "aging punk" thing. But I also wasn't awfully crazy about the record on first listen. Then I happened to be lucky enough to see Aaron play live a few times shortly after hearing it, and these songs translate very well in a live setting. Much better than the songs on Dead Skin, IMO. I don't really find this uncomfortable.

Also, Mike, you know I love you, so perhaps we can have a discussion about this on AIM one day, but I'm a bit curious as to what's exactly wrong with Aaron writing a record that's "just for him". Aren't most records written solely for the band or artist in question? I didn't think bands particularly wrote records that had to necessarily please the masses.

chokingvictim (October 5, 2009)

saw him at a house last night, it was great

downloading now!

Dante3000 (October 5, 2009)

I really questioned my own review after checking out some of the comments, so I went back and listened to it. I still absolutely love it. I don't know if it's because I saw Aaron live before I heard this and thus heard some of the songs live first, or if I relate to it more after talking to him (I know I'm so cool) but I still love this record. Maybe it's just an aging punk thing.
-Dante

onegirlarmy (October 4, 2009)

I love Marathon, but this is really disappointing. The music just isn't that interesting.

I thought this at first too. Give it some time. it grows.

onegirlarmy (October 4, 2009)

I personally recommend anyone who says they don't find this album that interesting to go see Aaron play live. You will likely change your mind about the songs when you see them in a live setting.

Indecay (October 4, 2009)

Reading this review reminded me that I haven't listened to De La Hoya for a good while. So I did and it was great, as always. "Has No Credibility" is one of my favorite EP's.

Then I decided to give this a shot and I really like it so far. Really catchy and good vocals. I'll definitely be giving this plenty of spins in the future.

onegirlarmy (October 4, 2009)

Just as great if not better than Dead Skin/Dried Blood. I love this man.

the_braces (October 3, 2009)

I loved dead skin/dried blood. I honestly know every word to every single song on that album, but I cant get into this at all because of the production value and it sucks. I'm sure I'd dig it if could see past it, but I can't.

Torgo (October 3, 2009)

I saw him accidentally (had no idea he was playing) at a basement show in NJ a few weeks ago, it was awesome.

xIxKilledxJesusx (October 3, 2009)

aaron scott is terrible

thegreatestmanalive (October 3, 2009)

This guy seems like a pretty cool guy, im going to check this out based on that. Also that weird song that is computerized or some shit off his first record is pretty awsome

mikexdude (October 3, 2009)

I love aaron scott. Like, really... holy shit everything he's ever done is fantastic. That said, I feel like this is a really personal record -- a personal record that is really uncomfortable to listen to. I feel it doesn't really engage the listner. That's not a bad thing, but I just can't get connected because it just seems so for him.

brokenrecord (October 3, 2009)

I like this even more than dead skin dried blood...this is a nice sophomore effort.

jamespastepunk (October 2, 2009)

I love Marathon, but this is really disappointing. The music just isn't that interesting.

Dante3000 (October 2, 2009)

HAHA, jokes on you! You can't buy it!
Go to his site and download it (it's fucking 320kbps, nice!), then donate donate donate! Super excited to see him at Fest.
-Dante

dlangl4 (October 2, 2009)

Mother fuck I didn't even know this was about to be released. Going to buy this right now. Best artist and lyricist ever.

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