Material: U.K.-based Scars On 45 make frequent trips to the US, a strong indicator that their music has reached enough people to make these visits worthwhile. Their indie-styled, acoustic pop/rock sound is mainstream enough to resonate with a large audience, but with a slight left-of-center edge to grab those craving that slight departure. “In Take You Home,” an upbeat song of comfort and reassurance, is among one of the themes this band espouses and is a feel-good ode to a loved one: “I’ll take you home right through the storm/to your front door/you’re not alone/you will never have to fear/I will always be right here with you.”
“Crazy For You,” a gentle and pithy confessional about love unrevealed, is built around the payoff tag line: “Darlin’ every time you leave/you’re leaving me feeling so blue/ hiding my heart away/cause I’m secretly crazy for you.” Before the turn around for the final two choruses, the guitar goes to the six chord, an effective device in many pop songs, but works very well in this song to set up the final choruses. (Perhaps the song title should be “Secretly Crazy For You”).
Musicianship: Bemrose and Driver, who both front the band, have very effective solo sounds but when their voices come together, it ups the ante. Instrumentally, Bemrose, Nova and Head are a tight fit bringing unity to the group. Their overall musical statement is natural and organic.
Performance: Scars On 45 was equally as compelling a draw as this first-rate music venue, which is also a destination for fine wine and cuisine, and the band successfully entrenched themselves with regular winery clientele. The venue, a renovated church, offers an ethereal backdrop and splendid acoustics, which greatly enhanced the group’s assets.
Along with their extensive original repertoire, they included two heavy-hitting covers setting the bar high for their own material. “Time After Time,” one of the greatest songs from the '80s, perfectly suited their sound, aligning them with one of the best in their genre. Not straying too far from the original, a few minor twists made it more their own.
Additionally, a respectable cover of “Go Your Own Way,” was another savvy choice. Adding a few more original signature songs, along with creating a unique look, will help to catapult this band even further.
Summary: Scars On 45 have a beautiful sound, especially when Bemrose and Driver harmonize. They are a great example of a band not needing to fly in your face to be effective. Notching up the act to include a couple of more heavy-hitting originals, along with cultivating a look that sets their brand apart, will complete an already strong package.
The Players: Danny Bemrose, guitar, vocals; Aimee Driver, vocals; Nova, piano, backup vocals; Nate Head, drums.
Photo by Mark Shiwolich
Venue: The Winery at St. George
City: Mohegan Lake, NY