Scratch Acid

Just Keep Eating

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Texas noise mongers Scratch Acid's first full-length album, Just Keep Eating, oozed out of the Austin, TX, music scene as part Birthday Party, part Butthole Surfers, and part swampy blues psychosis. Singer David Yow's guttural expulsions aren't quite up to the lung-scorching roars he would proudly claim as main man of the Jesus Lizard, but they reached their first mature voicings here. Backwoods derangement is the rule of the day: The arson tale of "Crazy Dan," the punk swing of "Unlike a Baptist," the howling "Damned for All Time," and the Big Boys-like (Scratch Acid drummer Rey Washam banged skins for those seminal Austin punkers) fake funk of "Amicus" all show the Acid boys to be well on their way to placing themselves among the Texas noise elite. Though this album doesn't hit the screaming intensity of the band's follow-up (and swan song) Berserker, it may well be their most representative effort, thanks in no small part to the stabbing twisted blooze guitar patterns fashioned by Brett Bradford, whose six-string work (itself heavily influenced by the Birthday Party's Roland S. Howard) influenced quite a number of guitar stars in the indie rock explosion of the early '90s. Chicago label Touch and Go did the world a huge favor when it released The Greatest Gift -- a Scratch Acid disc containing everything the band recorded, and neatly featuring Just Keep Eating in its entirety as tracks nine through 20. Even filtered through digital channels, the record's dirty back-roads insanity remains wonderfully cracked.

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