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AAA Music | 24 June 2024

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’68 – In Humor And Sadness

| On 05, Sep 2014

In Humour and Sadness

Two-piece American rock outfit ’68 have released their first album In Humor and Sadness. The band features Josh Scogin (ex Norma Jean/The Chariot) on guitars and vocals, and Michael McClellan on drums. Everything involving Scogin seems to be a little different and have a point to it, this is no exception; the album comprises 10 tracks, each titled with the track number and a letter, to spell out “Regretnot.” Very clever.

’68 open the album with ‘Track 01 R’, and begin as they mean to go on: noisily. Catchy rock riffs interspersed with more furious punk/hardcore sounding riffs follow this track from the first to the last second. Shouty vocalist Scogin passionately yells his way through the track. What irritates me about this track though, is the final minute – it got boring real fast.

The second track ‘Track 02 e’, is the one with the video. Well, videos, as there are two that you have to synchronise on YouTube (try it below). One for each member (vocals/guitar in one video, drums in the other). They show how simplistic ’68 are: two men, basic equipment (tiny drum kit and a Marshall stack) and not a lot more. It’s pretty awesome. As is the track. Less full-on than the first song, but still huge sounding (even the softer bits just sound loud) and shouty. Catchy vocals and guitar riffs throughout, at times almost sounding like an indie band with a shouting singer.

Following this is ‘Track 03 g’ (you get the idea, now), which is sort of a middle-of-the-road song, somewhere between the first two. Heavily reverbed vocals over solid, mid-tempo drums and fuzzy, over-distorted guitars take up the first and final third of this track, with sing-a-long “woah oah ooaahs” filling in the middle.

Slow and full of echoes, ‘Track 04 r’ starts off as a pause from the aggression, but only temporarily. It soon picks up the raw, loudness you’d expect. ‘Track 05 e’ is very indie sounding at the start; clean singing over a clean guitar. It almost sounds out-of-place, but quickly takes it up a notch. Into the second half of the album now, and ‘Track 06 t’ is a real highlight; it has some epic instrumentation towards the end and some almost Norma Jean sounding bits in the middle. Scogin going crazy with the vocals and screaming like his life is on the line. Raw passion.

‘Track 07 n’ takes a more indie vibe, as some previous songs have done, but still has the shouting over it and still sounds like a loud rock song. ‘Track 08 o’ is a throwback to the opening track. Short and aggressive, but catchy at the same time. Fuzz and octave pedals both engaged on the guitar at times, keeping things interesting. ‘Track 09 t’ is entirely void of drums, featuring only a guitar and vocals (also a piano and some strange noises towards the end). Fun for about 30 seconds, then it becomes dull, as it is very repetitive.

‘Track 10 .’ sounds very freeform, almost like they were jamming in the studio with the record button held in. A slower, more dissonant track when compared with the others. And longer, twice the length of many of the other tracks. There is a clear influence from Norma Jean and The Chariot in this one, intentional or not.

In Humor and Sadness is a huge, raw, open sounding album, full of aggression, fury, distortion and simplicity, with tinges of weird and interesting sounds throughout. Even from my laptop speakers in my bedroom it sounds like I’m listening to them in a stadium. But with ear mufflers on or something. Seriously, ’68 sound huge, and it’s just two blokes.

Jake Parker