Josh Scogin kickstarted ’68 back in 2013, naming the two-man outfit he modestly undersells as “a little rock, a little blues, a little hardcore” after his father’s old Camaro. Joining with percussive Nikko Yamada, the band unleash an array of guitar, bass, drums and keys, and pedals. Like a Delta Blues reimagining of Bleach-era Nirvana or the disgraced punkish cousin of The Black Keys.
The slicker cool of the intro to first track The Knife, The Knife, The Knife announces the band as a delta blues/punk mash up creators. Just two guys create all this noise, Josh Scogin and Nikko Yamada, and like a lot of duos we are seeing they take what we know of a duo to more and more impressive noisy heights.
A chugging ‘Bad Bite’ with short sharp punk vocals, hand claps and driving rhythms all at break neck speed. It also highlights Scogin’s clever lyrical phrasing and melodic rhythm playing that give the band their signature sound.
With a backing track that sounds like the Sex Pistols gone Surfing, ‘Nickels And Diamonds’ carries on the addictive racket that ‘Bad Bite’ started. But not to be a one trick pony, the band create something different on next track ‘What You feed’. The mayhem is still there but theres a cool surf punk vibe with the guitar riff.
‘What you Starve’ thumbing drum beat and a crawling sleazy blues lick. It’s time to talk about Yamada’s contribution to the band. This album isn’t stocked with the usual rock drum fills, but instead his fluid drumming bounces all over the kit matching Scogin’s riffing fury and wall of distorted chords perfectly.
‘The Silence, The silence, The Silence’ is pure rock n roll fury as Scogin spits out the vocals and Yamada pounds the living hell out of his kit. With tracks like this the band are really on fire with their playing and their perfect partnership enables them to get the best out of each other.
Tracks ‘Life and Debt’ and ‘Lovers In Death’ reach deeper heavy lows. Deep bass drum and heavily effected guitar give ‘Life And Debt’ a shimmering and punchy start before the music collides and a glorious chorus rises out of the vibrato. ‘Lovers In death’ has harsh stabs between some gratifying palm muted strumming.
The overdriven guitar tone through out this album and has a gothic rock quality to it which the creepy riff on ‘Nervous passenger’ makes good use of as the song as it lends a nervous shaken quality. There is evening a church bell to end the song on. Carrying on the paranoid haunted emotions, ‘The Storm, The Storm, the Storm’ takes it one step further with its eerie theme picked and strummed with that overdriven bass heavy guitar sound. the guys take us on a cinematic detour with vocal samples over shining synths and a full drum kit in use.
The production on this album is something to take notice off. The garage sounding guitars that sound like they were recorded in a huge hall as opposed to the intimate vocals that feel as if they are right inside your head. The duo have found a perfect balance in the mix to allow both members to be heard and support each other for the greater good. The music.
’68’s Give One Take One is razor sharp with one hell of a guitar tone that dominates through out. Theres very little let up through out this album and all the tracks are turned up to 11 in volume and intensity. The music has that well executed controlled mayhem where every note adds to the overhaul chaos. But it’s the superb songwriting that really makes the album shine.
Check out the opening track, below:
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