I must admit, I was not too familiar with Scott H. Biram before picking up Bad Ingredients. Just Another River is the first track on the album, and it immediately shows the personality and catchiness that so many other listeners have already heard. The gritty, home-spun style of Biram is showcased at all points during this album, and Victory Song may just be the most iconic of the cuts found here. Victory Song is a track that bounces back between braggadocio and comeuppance – while Biram’s arrangements and vocals may exude confidence, there is no sense that Biram is untouchable.
In fact, it is precisely when Biram seems vulnerable that Bad Ingredients seems its strongest. Wind Up Blind has that little sneer to it, but there is the sense that Biram is in control of eir actions. Killed A Chicken Last Night moves over to a more self-parody style, but succeeds where most other artists would folly because eir narration cannot be beat.
Black Creek Risin’ is a track that speaks to the bulk of 20th century country and western music; even though Biram makes eirself out to be a master of eir domain, there is a sense that there is a greater power (in this case, the floor) that can just end one’s life as they know it. The final track, Hang Your Head & Cry, showcases the aftermath – once proud, Biram sounds broken by the end of the album. I personally would love to see Biram live just to hear some of the rapport that ey has with eir audience. Pick up a copy of Bad Ingredients from your local independent music store or check out eir tracks online.
Top Tracks: Just Another River, Born in Jail
Scott H. Biram – Bad Ingredients (CD) / 2011 Bloodshot Records / 13 Tracks / http://www.scottbiram.com / http://www.bloodshotrecords.com