One look at Scarling might suggest that they're a new batch of goth-inclined neo-hipsters ready to sell themselves to America's disaffected youth in the wake of the breakthrough of Evanescence. However, while a spin of their debut full-length, Sweet Heart Dealer, confirms that legions of mopey kids should go for this big-time, it's also clear that this band has an awful lot more going for them than the surfaces might suggest. While dominated by the massive guitar sounds of Christian Hejnal and Rickey Lime, Scarling's songs display a canny pop sensibility that bobs just beneath their aural surface, and former Jack Off Jill vocalist Jessicka's voice seems to have gained some welcome depth and texture in the context of her new band. Hejnal and Jessicka have cited Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine as key influences on Scarling's approach, and it shows -- rather than going for standard-issue Marshall-stack crunch, Hejnal and Lime utilize feedback, drones, and floating masses of overtones to give these seven songs an attack that could be described as a loving pummel that embraces as it bruises. And you can actually sing along with "Band Aid Covers the Bullet Hole" without hurting yourself, which is no small feat. Sweet Heart Dealer is a remarkably accomplished debut from a band with very real potential.
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming