Well, hot DAMN. When I typically sit down to write a review, there isn’t much information for research other than a press release from the band or their label. In the case of Modeling Is Hard, the long-awaited release from Scruffy & The Janitors, there were early reviews already published along with an interview from the band. What did I learn from these pieces? It’s a great record. So the expectations were high before I’d even heard a track. Unfair on my part? Sure. Then Modeling Is Hard knocked me flat instantly because of how much it fucking rocks.
Scruffy & The Janitors brand of rough-and-tumble garage rock meets catchy pop could make you close your eyes, randomly pick one of the fourteen(!) tracks to listen to, and think “This must be the single” and then do it all over again with another song and think the same exact thing. They’re all hits. Just to call out the production, it’s a record that take its time yet never wears out its welcome. The flow and clarity is so enjoyable and fresh; you can tell it’s been a labor of love. There’s the one-two-three punch open of “Eraser,” “You Got Hit,” and “The Spins” leading right into the dizzying guitar and infectious chorus of “Hermit.” There’s the wonderful call-and-response from the vocals to the guitar and the title track; the seething lyrics of “Flesh & Bone” (“You’re only flesh and bone/I can take you on my own”) which morph to a full vocal onslaught to close the track and then turn 180 degrees to the crystal clear “Jonestown.” There are the quiet curveballs in “Carry Me Home” and “Welcome Touch” and then the trumpet and haunting organ on “Feeling,” before the record blows to smithereens on closer “Elephant.”
I can’t say enough good things about Modeling Is Hard without resorting to a level of absurdity. Just know that it’s been worth the wait.
Favorite Tracks: “You Got Hit,” “Hermit,” “Modeling Is Hard,” & “Jonestown”
Editor’s note: You can celebrate Scruffy and the Janitors’ release on April 7 at the Replay.