When Josh Scogin and his band Luti-Kriss came onto the hardcore scene in the late '90s, they garnered many fans, but mostly flew under the radar. The band later changed their name to Norma Jean, and they released an album called Bless The Martyr, Kiss The Child. Their fanbase blew up. Scogin has since moved on from Norma Jean's vocalist to founding the screaming for The Chariot. He's long been a standard for the hardcore scene, but now he's trekking into new territory this year - the singer/songwriter kind. His first solo album is called One For My Master and One For My Dame. Josh Scogin is A Rose By Any Other Name.
The name of the band seems really fitting. For those who are, for whatever reason, unfamiliar with where it comes from, "a rose by any other name" comes from William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet. The line says "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." And that can be beautifully applied to Scogin's music. Just as a hardcore fan loves himself some Norma Jean or The Chariot music, so would a fan of indie music and/or bluesy acoustic songs love the music of A Rose By Any Other Name. There may be many who would disagree with me, but I think Scogin does a better job with this new indie stuff than with The Chariot.
The songs on One For My Master and One For My Dame are mostly slower songs with minimal instrumentation, but there are also several moments where the band is in full swing, though it never gets too hard (for instance, "Monologue Replica," which has one of my favorite choruses on the album, could be somewhat compared to "Water Under The Bridge" by Jars of Clay). "Monologue Replica" may actually be the most upbeat song on the entire album. Other songs that include the full band are more folky, like "What's In A Name" and "God, The Devil, Me," the latter of which borders on southern rock/country. The band is pretty talented, and the songs sound great.
"I Sing A Lot" was given away through A Rose By Any Other Name's MySpace a while back before a full-length had been announced, and it's placed near the end of the album. Surprisingly, it doesn't sound like Scogin re-recorded the song at all, but just used the same version he gave away. This isn't a problem by any means, just interesting. It's one with with Scogin and an acoustic guitar at first, and it builds up with piano, harmonica and eventually some drums. "Unfather" has a similar structure and build up, and "Roseleene" uses the blues sound to speak of Scogin's desire to reach people through his music. He used Norma Jean and The Chariot to share his heart and faith with anyone who would listen and he is able to do the same thing with his new style of music.
Listeners who have heard that Josh Scogin has a new band but have no further details will most likely be thrown for a loop once they actually get around to listening to it, as there's not a trace of hardcore on any of the nine songs (nor do any of the songs even come close to the line). However, the style of the music is irrelevant to the album's quality, which is up there with some of the more popular indie artists we have today, such as Bradley Hathaway and Gasoline Heart. One For My Master and One For My Dame is an impressive album, and proof that there is talent amongst hardcore musicians for any naysayers. This is an album recommended for Scogin fans, obviously, but also for music lovers who enjoy indie and blues sounds.
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