With clever songwriting, a willingness to experiment, and an increased production quality in the studio, the Wellwater Conspiracy have slowly outgrown their side-project beginnings to become a great band in their own right. Co-founder Matt Cameron still gives much of his time and energy to playing drums for Pearl Jam, so it's unlikely that the Conspiracy will ever break big, but that's all the better. The group has the feeling of a cult band, a gift rewarded to the fan willing to put the time and energy into searching it out, and the rewards are plenty on the third Wellwater Conspiracy release (the band's first for TVT). While past albums contained some gems, they often felt like records that were written and recorded over the course of a few weekends off. Scroll, on the other hand, has the sound of a fully realized album, with Cameron and cohort John McBain taking their love for '60s garage and psychedelia to a new level. "I Got Nightmares" is pure early Who, and "Tick Tock 3 O'Clock" is the best Roky Erickson song never penned. The record also has some heavyweight guests. Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil adds a beautiful guitar part to "C, Myself and Eye," while Eddie Vedder (going under the moniker Wes C. Addle) lends his familiar voice to the jaunty, Byrds-ish "Felicity's Surprise." The production on Scroll is much cleaner, the songwriting is tighter, and the group only sounds better and stronger for it.
The Scroll and Its Combinations Review
by Steve Kurutz