There's an interesting story to The Scenics that tends to show how music can sometimes defy its own time to secure a better level in the future. Hailing from Toronto, Canada, the band was well known up north and gained enough acclaim to find themselves opening for acts like the Talking Heads, later became a part of the Horsehoe Tavern swan song, thence on to an appearance in the film The Last Pogo, which chronicled the death knell of the genre in the band's hometown. Thus, during four brief years, 1976 - 1982, the band came out of nowhere, blazed into a respected niche of the firmament, and then croaked, members splitting amicably (whaaaat?!?!, aren't they aware of the rock 'n roll tradition??? Someone's s'posed to go insane, another check into rehab, and at least one more become a recluse!).
25 years later, guitarist-singer-writer Andy Meyers dug up a trove of 300 hours of the group's recordings, surprised himself at their quality, and put together 2008's How does It feel to be Loved?: The Scenics play the Velvet Underground, which went over quite well, and hell, Larry, when the winds blowing yer way, ya might as well let it push you into good things, so the band reformed and hit the road while releasing another disc of rescued cuts. Now it's 2012, and the boyz have written and recorded an entirely new compendium, Dead Man Walks down Bayview. The result is a blend of the Velvs, the Feelies, the Byrds, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Rain Parade, a touch of Space Opera, and even some rockabilly-meets-skronk which damn near breaks into Pere Ubu (No Sleep), as well as a tad of Television (Growing Pains), as the promo sheet writer astutely notes.
Then there's The Farmer, which is barbled cool-strange, a slow, dirgey, mumbley-peg cut where the singer gets to slur and stumble to his heart's delight, to excellent effect, the rest of the band falling in behind in a sparkling shimmer-curtain offsetting the hallucinogenic qualities only to eventually join them. So, in the end, Dead Man Walks down Bayview is a quirky peek behind the curtain of creativity showing how absorbent the entire milieu has become; a place where the borders of rock, punk, alt, and New Wave met and melded; and what the final effect has been on one band that damn near made the breakthrough.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles