Today we are excited to have a new writer contribute to our site. Adam Hardwick lives in Cleveland and has a crazy range of music he will cover. Today, he shares a under the radar band we think will connect with many. ’68 are currently on tour and hot off the release of their “Two Parts Viper” album. You can check out more on the band here.
Two Parts Viper is a great follow-up record that matches the quality of ‘68’s first, In Humor and Sadness. Fans of the Chariot and In Utero-era Nirvana will be pleased with this effort.
Much of the album can be described as “positive aggression”. Vocalist Josh Scogin sings with the late Kurt Cobain’s howls, but without the angst. He sounds like he’s having a good time, yelping, whooping, and using accents (No Apologies) throughout the record. The vocals give the feeling that the listener is part of a hard rock party. Songs frequently take unexpected turns, like using a repeating delay effect on vocals (Whether Terrified of Unafraid), or abrupt changes in tempo (riff-silence-explosive drumming-abrasive guitars). Many of the tracks have catchy guitar parts and vocal phrases (Death Is a Lottery). The album also has a do-it-yourself ethic reminiscent of In Utero.
The lyrics express affirmation (“I could have been anyone from anywhere, but I chose to be myself right here” – on Whether Terrified or Unafraid), sorrow (“the saddest songs that I wrote are how I wish you were here” – Without Any Words), and reflection (“death is quick but it can last so long” – Death Is a Lottery). The lyrics are open to interpretation, with a little guidance hidden in the verses and titles. The lyrics of Without Words might be a Kurt Cobain reference; the title of The Workers are Few is a Biblical reference. I particularly enjoyed the phrase “after the sticks click” from What More Can I Say as a possible reference to death using an analogy of drum sticks clicking.
Two Parts Viper is as good as In Humor and Sadness, or any of The Chariot’s last three studio albums. It is a unique record that is difficult to categorize – like The Chariot with more jams, less distorted guitars, and a more relaxed feel. The album could be classified as Indie Rock, Hard Rock, or Metal.
Two Parts Viper is innovative. It is nice to hear a record that is not a rehash of past albums, or a pastiche of worn-out older styles (hard to find in 2017).