Anyone who reminds me of the likes of Nick Lowe or Ray Davis is obviously an artist I want to know more about. And there is something in the music of Scott Allen that rings with that same English charm. There is the same lightness and buoyancy, the same lyrical blend of wit and wisdom, the same infectiousness and immediacy, the same craft and quality, which brings me to ask two pertinent questions. One – how come this is Scott Allen’s debut solo album when he has been involved in making music for so long? And two – how the hell is he American?
I don’t mean to imply that the English make better albums; of course, I wouldn’t be that indecorous, but music has a sonic fingerprint, and part of what shapes them is geographical, yet there is something wonderfully familiar to a Brit like me at the heart of My Own Grown Eyes.
“Finest Hour,” which kicks things off, sits perfectly between pop poise and rock swagger, a great opener, a first sonic bite of the album, and once tasted, demands that you settle in and play the album in full. And so you should.
Scott takes us through sweet and seductive balladry with “The Shining,” true rock groovers such as “Delivered No Tomorrow” (a song that wouldn’t have seemed out of place on any early album by The Church, all spiraling riffs and sonic crescendoes and even castanets…splendid stuff) and sassy soul fusions courtesy of the excellently titled “Family Christmas Knife Fight.”
He even allows himself a few moments of fist-in-the-air, foot-on-the-monitor, heads down, no-nonsense hard rock boogie with “Black Ice Freeway,” a song where his Americanness begins to show as he delivers a classic cut that “R.E.M.” would have fought you long and hard for. But this is balanced by the brilliantly Beatle-esque “Sugarcoat” which follows it.
What a fine album, an array of brilliantly crafted songs with lyrics to match. One small request. Maybe don’t leave it so long until the next one, please, Scott!