|1||You Can't Complain||6:14|
|2||If I Don’t Be There By Morning||4:33|
|3||I Don’t Need You (To Grind Me Down)||2:08|
|6||Little Miss Metaphor||2:07|
|7||Who Would Give Us Wedding Presents?||5:57|
|11||Cold Mountain blues||10:40|
|13||Summer In Fairyland||4:40|
|14||Hash-cakes Boogie (instrumental)||5:00|
|Total Playing Time: 71:49|
Dave Edwards’ first album Scratched Surface was compiled from songs written at and just after leaving high school, and home-recorded on almost no budget. It is a conscious homage to Bob Dylan’s early acoustic albums, but with a 90s grunge and alt-country slant. The arrangements are bare, often solo guitar, with additional guitars, harmonica, bass and hand percussion on some tracks. It ranges from acoustic balladry to no-wave punk, naked emotionalism to satire, and as its multiple-meanings title suggests, is often all of these at once. Its studious anti-professionalism perfectly complements the material however, and forces the emphasis onto the songwriting, which is by turns mournful, insightful, poetic, funny, bittersweet and self-mocking. The album has a strong sense of narrative structure, which displays a keen grasp of songwriting as an artform, and lays the groundwork for The Marion Flow and the forthcoming Mantis Shaped and Worrying.
“Dave Edwards’ name probably won’t mean much to anyone outside of New Plymouth, but Scratched Surface is a CDR worth searching out ‘cos this lo-fi singer/songwriter oddball has a unique take on the genre. He’s pissed off, a tad fucked up (as usual), but not full of lugubrious self-pity (as unusual), and is happy to get raucous & obnoxious in just the right kinda way. An acquired taste perhaps, but worth the effort. A Smelly Feet for the millennium?”
- Chris Knox, Real Groove magazine, April 1999. (Knox’s last remark was intriguing, as he was apparently unaware that Edwards performed with Smelly Feet main man and NZ punk pioneer Brent Hayward at the 1999 Sweetwaters Festival, in the performance-art/free-noise ensemble The Bird & Truck Collision).
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