Review: Sketchy- Heck (For the Love of Punk)

Posted: August 6, 2017 in Reviews

Always lead with your best track. I learned this lesson while attending an “Indie Music Conference” in Chicago many years ago. Conscientious reviewers will listen to a whole album or EP multiple times before committing opinion to page, but many reviewers are busy, working against deadlines, and have only time to listen to the first bits of the first track to decide if the record gets a good review, let alone whether if it gets a review at all. And this isn’t to say the opening track on Sketchy’s new full-length LP is bad. On the contrary, it’s a decent track but it’s far from the best of the album. So the album starts out OK and just gets better from there. “Tight Six” is that opener, and it’s a hard and fast hardcore track with plenty of power and gang vocal opportunities. But it’s not particularly special; it sounds like a lot of other bands out there. But then, after this short minute and a quarter blast we get “Normal,” and what an amazing track that is! Also fast and loud, the melodies and intricate guitar jangle are just gorgeous. That it’s on top of an otherwise fast and crunchy punk tune is genius. There truly isn’t a bad track on this album. Some of the tracks are just ordinary good punk music, but several of them stand out as truly great, fun, amazing tracks, besides the aforementioned “Normal.” “Every Man (Thinks They’re Holden Caulfield)” is another favorite. It’s not as fast or powerful as many of the other tracks, but it’s got a great melody and some beautiful yet simple guitar work on the bridge. “On the Run” is also not quite so fast as other tracks, but it reminds me of East Bay punk of the heydays in the late 80s and early 90s. The unison vocals, strong melody and simple execution remind me a lot of the sound made famous by Lookout! Records, 924 Gilman St and that crowd. “Rorschach” is only forty seconds long, but it packs more power into that time than most bands do in a four-minute track. It’s very different from most of the other tracks, harder, faster and louder. And the closer, “All the Wrong Strings” has a loud, crunchy wall of guitar with a softer indie rock melody on top of it. The vocals become more melodic and even include harmonies on this track, which has an epic sound to close things out. This is a strong record.

Listen here:



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