Scrawl Reviews
Scrawl circa 1996 in England.
photo by Andy Willsher

Bloodsucker CD/LP
From the pages of the CMJ New Music Report, Issue: 267 - Jan 17, 1992

It's little things like a label dropping you and then going belly-up that separate the women from the girls, and Scrawl resurge a year and a half after Smallmouth, not only undaunted, but more forcefully conveying ragged defiance and freedom from day-job doldrums. Scrawl's strength has always been translating untidy emotions and normal-person thoughts to a sturdy, chunking cluster of guitar and rhythm, and the six songs here (we're not counting the cover of "Cold Hearted Snake") steam ahead with renewed focus, suggesting movement and liberation rather than tugging wastefully in all directions. Scrawl's thing has never really been for riffs or vocal hooks, but on "VI Ploriontos" and "Love's Insecticide," Marcy and Sue's voices and the guitar challenge and rise together with conviction, prodding together to an apex of ringing accusation while the bass carries on with tugboat sturdiness. "Clock Song" is an impetus-gathering call to action and timely departure, while "Please Have Everything" is a hangdog, spoon-stirring sigh of a goodbye ballad, and they even take Cheap Trick's "High Roller" for a joyride. All three musicians sound as though they've been practicing and honing these declarations to rapier accuracy for some time, stating their impatience with indie label bureaucracy on the record cover and expressing that urgency in the music.

Bloodsucker CD/LP
From Sonic Net

According to the liner notes, the cover drawing which lends Bloodsucker its title is "an artist's rendering; any resemblance to music industry executives is purely coincidental." Recorded in the wake of the bankruptcy of Scrawl's previous label Rough Trade, this seven-track EP is clearly informed by the group's troubled experiences in the music business; independently financed and self-released, Bloodsucker is bitter, pessimistic and grim, yet also fiery and passionate -- the work of a band quite possibly breathing its last, but refusing to go down without a fight. Marcy Mays' songs are her most potent to date, highlighted by the bracing "Clock Song;" rounding out the set are covers of Cheap Trick's "High Roller" and Paula Abdul's "Cold Hearted Snake."
~ Jason Ankeny, All-Music Guide

Velvet Hammer CD
From the pages of the CMJ New Music Report, Issue: 359 - Nov 29, 1993

Before it was so trendy to talk about inspiring female musicians-before foxcore and riot grrrls-three unassuming women from Columbus, Ohio, were writing and recording an emotionally turbulent, lyrically astute, overtly female body of songs. Three albums on Rough Trade and an EP on Feel Good All Over revealed the band's rugged song structures, empowered by the tension-filled dialectic rippling between the voices of songwriters Marcy Mays and Sue Harshe. For Scrawl, 1993 has been a year of great, though certainly not detrimental, change. Original drummer Carolyn O'Leary was replaced by Dana Marshall, Scrawl's first male band member, and Simple Machines has adopted the the trio's cause, reissuing 1991`s Bloodsucker EP and taking on the band's fourth album, Velvet Hammer. The new album's somewhat heavier, tighter sound and increased attention to subtleties may be a result of years of touring or of Steve Albini's astute recording, while the heightened sensitivity of the lyrics, which tackle frustration, depression and dependency, may be the result of maturity and increased insight. But the essential element remains: Scrawl's songs strike an important nerve in the human psyche, as on "Your Mother Wants To Know," "Prize," and "Remember That Day." And while you're at it, check out Mays' gripping vocals on "My Curse" off the Afghan Whigs' new album Gentlemen.
-Lydia Anderson

Good Under Pressure 7"
From the pages of the CMJ New Music Report, Issue: 435 - Jul 10, 1995

Scrawl's first release in over a year houses two emotionally-charged rockers that'll have the hairs on the back of your neck standing on end. "Good Under Pressure" deftly alternates between dense, noisy parts and sparse, quiet parts, making the final build-up all the more intense. On the flipside things only get darker, with martial drum beats leading off the anger-driven "Chaos," ignited by the tension-filled vocal interplay between Marcy Mays and Sue Harshe.



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