Born in Belfast but now based in France- Glen Keys’ album “How2scratcha7year1tch”- owes much more to his adopted country of residence than to the city of his birth. Mirroring the diversity of France- this album is a melting pot of different and eclectic styles. Fusing funk, blues and classic rock- this is one of the most ambitious albums I’ve heard in a long time.
The album opens with “Don’t Give a Funk”- the funk is certainly present on this track but it shares its space with classic rock licks, loose guitars, organ and laconic vocals. Sounding like a Parliament/Jimi Hendrix hybrid- this groove laden jam is an excellent start to proceedings.
“Shock Tactics”- is a slightly more modern sounding number- the funkiness remains- but the vocals are spat out in a rap style akin to the Beastie Boys. It shouldn’t work but it does- sounding both manic and fun- the composition on this track is great – it flows perfectly from start to finish.
“Imola” is an energetic and explosive number. Merging a furious thrash funk riff with rhythmic slap bass there’s great energy to this one. Keys’ vocals bring to mind Anthony Kiedis- the track itself evoking the Chilli Pepper’s in their Freaky Styley period.
“Dope”- see’s a return to the 60’s/70’s rock sound of the album opener. Again- vocally this is very close to Anthony Kiedis. Containing the refrain of “are you experienced” this song confirms what was already obvious- Keyes is a fan of Jimi Hendrix.
This is further illustrated on “More”- a wah heavy rock number. This track borders on Hendrix panache and is more filler than anything else.
Opening with synthesisers and an acoustic guitar- “Break” marks a turning point in the album where the funk takes a back seat. The highlight of the song is the Led Zeppelin-esque heavy riff that accompanies the chorus.
“Pixie Minx”- is the first of two mellower numbers. The combination of acoustic guitar and piano come together nicely but the overtly nostalgic and sentimental lyrics drag the song down somewhat.
“Turn Me Loose” is piano driven ballad. Again this track feels over cooked- lyrically it’s far too mawkish. The guest female vocals are refreshing but this sounds too middle of the road. Bearing similarities to Sting- this track feels misguided and out of place.
On “I Will Be There”- Key’s reverts to his rockier sound. A slow burning blues number with a hard rock edge- the singer sounds much more at home at this pace.
“Here Comes The Rain”- adopts the same blueprint but is a much stronger track. A fantastic intro gives way to a heavy blue’s riff- reminiscent of Love Spreads by Stone Roses. The chugging riff is the highlight of the album- illustrating that the art of guitar playing is not yet lost.
Remarkably assured and confident; “How2scratcha7year1tch”- is a testament to Keys’ versatility as a musician. He happily bounces between styles; sounding as comfortable on the funk numbers as he does on the bluesier orientated tracks. It helps that his backing band is so accomplished- each member showing they have a rhythm and feel for their instrument. What hurts the album is that even at 10 songs- it feels long- some quality control and there would be a very fine E.P here. Also- lyrically this album is quite suspect at times. However- if you’re looking for something fun, funky and danceable this is definitely what you’re looking for.
Review by C.W - Music Review Unsigned