Retrospective: Scratch Acid – ‘The Greatest Gift’ (1991)

10 Mar

Scratch Acid – ‘The Greatest Gift’

(Touch and Go Records)

This lesser known classic is (yes I know this is patronising) not for the faint hearted. Scratch Acid – ‘The Greatest Gift’, released in 1991 consists of a mega twenty eight songs! It’s a compilation of three previous albums from the Austin trio (1982-1987) who, in true and unfortunate punk rock fashion were ripped off by there then record labels.

Although, the guys separated and went on to form numerous other bands, notably The Jesus Lizard, and deservedly experienced a sip or two of that long sought after elixir known as success. To the average you and me this means ‘BEING DULY PAID FOR THE HOURS PUT IN’, and yet it is arguably Scratch Acid who stand alone and in most cases rise above.

Along with other bands such as the Butthole Surfers and Big Black, Scratch Acid contributed in giving unholy birth to that early-to-mid-eighties U.S. scene where a rather more extreme alternative was offered to an already alternative genre. In tracks such as ‘She Said’, ‘Lay Screaming’, ‘Owners Lament’ and ‘Crazy Dan’  themes of rape, murder and insanity are not just touched upon but delved into with David Yow (vocals) and his debauched howling, coming through the speakers like that of a condemned opera singer clinging to the last remnants of what was once a soul.

This is built from the foundations of a solid bass/drums combo and some of the most unsettling, eerie guitar playing ever to be strung which all serves to present an Audio Nasty experience of the most depraved and therefore highest quality.  Think of being ten years old again and watching Texas Chain Saw Massacre for the first time after a day of Tom and Jerry, intrigued? You should be.

4 Responses to “Retrospective: Scratch Acid – ‘The Greatest Gift’ (1991)”

  1. Kari March 10, 2011 at 23:58 #

    Such an interesting review…I have to confess I have never heard of Scratch Acid, and I feel I really should have before. So thanks for introducing them to me.

    I do agree with you, it is definitely unsettling, and this is a good thing. In terms of their sound, I hear a lot of Gang of Four influence, and they remind e of another brilliant American alternative band called The Gun Club.

    So, yes, thumbs up, and I shall be listening to some more Scratch Acid.

    • Corner Morphy March 11, 2011 at 01:03 #

      excellent review, buddy.

    • stinnelly March 11, 2011 at 13:04 #

      Nice to get such a positive reply so thankyou for that. Also glad that the review has intrigued at least one person. Funny you should mention the Gun Club, I’ve just recently started listening to them. I think maybe Frank Black and the Pixies took a leaf or two from their sound book.

      • Kari March 12, 2011 at 21:14 #

        You are most welcome. Thank you for introducing me to them.
        Yeah, I have to agree that The Pixies may have been influenced by both the Gun Club and Scratch Acid.
        Funny how The Pixies have a rather quaint name which is so contrary to their sound.

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