Album Review: Al Scorch – “Circle Round the Signs”

Deeply rooted in Chicago’s brash history, Al Scorch draws heavily off modern folk-punk themes of humanism and raw, terse emotion to deliver Circle Round the Signs, an album in which Scorch proves himself to be a one-man Mumford and Sons.  The opening track “Pennsylvania Turnpike” impresses with its folk-gone-wild, almost square-dancey kicks. Combine this with Scorch’s poetic storytelling capability of Sufjan Stevens, and the listener is no longer provided with only music, but an experience of complex human emotion. In “Lost at Sea” for example, he exclaims, “I picked up the phone and they told me that you had survived. I fell on the floor and then I continued to cry”. The brevity of his tunes (some not lasting only more than 2 minutes) helps to not drain the listener. “Insomnia” begins as if Scorch is beginning a slow jam session with himself, but motivation ensues and it becomes an uninhibited anthem of breaking tradition and loneliness. He croons, “Luckily I’m unemployed/ I can watch night as it turns to morning…I’m deep in these pills, they don’t bring no rest for me.” The Austin Chronicle wrote of him, “Scorch’s unassuming appearance belies his role as one of today’s great distillers of folk and punk.” Scorch ends the album with the simply named “Love after Death”, a track that expresses wishful questioning as to whether or not he will see a loved one again, and profoundly complemented by hoppy banjo chords. Get tour dates and buy Circle Round the Signs on Bloodshot Records HERE . Read more about the artist HERE.


Sources: Bloodshot Records,, Facebook, Youtube


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