By: Jeremy Fleischer
3 out of 5 STARS
On its latest release, Scratch My Way to Heaven, Backseat Vinyl presents a pretty sour view of most things. Vocalist/guitarist Nate Fuller is bored with drinking, sucks at “this,” is “always getting worse,” and finds affection in two people hating each other. One gets the sense that everything is as big of a drag as sweaty legs sticking to vinyl car seats. But then, Fuller’s presentation also feels a bit over-the-top and this dour attitude takes a sarcastic tone, a self-aware self-deprecation that feels playful and sorta funny.
The “Aw shucks, this sucks!” attitude will sound familiar to anyone who lived through the ’90s. Yes, it’s grunge. And in this case, Backseat Vinyl clearly has great admiration for Nirvana. One refrain even finds Fuller repeating “I think I’m dumb,” which of course is a direct lift from Nirvana’s “Dumb,” something the band is surely aware of. Likewise, the music also finds inspiration from Nirvana in its chord changes, melodies, and general composition.
This sort of mimicry is forgivable. What’s difficult to overcome is the tediousness of the viewpoint. After a few songs, it feels juvenile and forced. Fuller’s voice is truly entertaining, and the band backs him up with some solid, compelling, driving music. But like Kurt sang, “Teenage angst has paid off well / now I’m bored and old.” This music, without finding a depth of sincere feeling, could quickly get boring and old like a joke told over and over.