I think this split was made to go along with a tour, which makes a lot of sense—Scorch and Dondero make a good pair, trading banjo and guitar duties on each other’s songs. Al Scorch’s “Hold on Right” is a sad-smiling ballad that does exactly what it should. There’s this perfect mix of banjo that can happen in a folk song sometimes—if your punk response to that is, “Yeah, none,” then go away, this isn’t for you—and this one hits just the right mark. David Dondero’s “Country Cliché,” while similarly thoughtful, takes a darker turn. The opening lines call back to country legends, but Dondero’s blunt, brazenly confessional tone and cadence is all him. Where Scorch is gentle and quietly optimistic, Dondero is bitter and unforgiving, hammering his rage home with each repeated phrase. It’s a duality that works well on this split, showcasing each person’s songwriting abilities for exactly what they are. These guys are where DIY punk ethics and folk music really intersect.
–Indiana Laub (Let’s Pretend, [email protected], letspretendrecords.com)