Vertical Scratchers debut, Daughter of Everything, is scattershot, but charming. John Schmersal (Brainiac/Enon, Caribou’s touring band, and Crooks on Tape) and Christian Beaulieu (Triclops!/Anywhere) have created an album all over the place, but still inviting.
The 15 songs on Daughter of Everything average 2 minutes and 7 seconds with eight tracks being under 2 minutes. The first three songs in particular fly by. The frantic pace of the record is energizing and disorienting. The band catches its breath with a few slower, drawn out songs, but they’re only memorable as breaks.
Vertical Scratchers pull from 60s and 90s punk and indie rock for influence. Aggressive guitar strumming is a signature sound and appears throughout the album. Schmersal’s high, light vocals are tinted with delight and give the tracks their charm. “Way Out” stands out as a perfect example.
There’s enough melody throughout the album to keep things interesting during the majority of the record. “Chambermaids,” “Kingdom Come” and “These Plains” stand out in the middle of the album.
Beyond a frantic good time, there’s not much more. Vertical Scratcher’s lyrics sound more like found poetry than anything else. They do add to the fractured atmosphere of Daughter of Everything which seems to reflect on an audience whose attention is likely already fractured anyway.
Vertical Scratchers is an intriguing addition to the Merge lineup and Daughter of Everything could be a gateway to an unexpected good time.
Daughter of Everything is out now and Vertical Scratchers will play the finish line of the Merge 25K at Motorco Music Hall on March 22.