“A little rock, a little blues, a little hardcore” quips frontman Josh Scogin as he modestly breaks down just exactly what it is that ’68 are all about. It’s been four years since 2017’s the dynamic duo’s sophomore album Two Parts Viper, but 2021 now sees the release of Give One Take One, their third and most ambitious instalment to date.
Opening exactly as you’d expect, the album pulls no punches as it rides straight into the heavy, fuzzy, riff-laden abyss, a unique, artsy sound the pair have become synonymous for. As well as being the first single released from the record, ‘The Knife, The Knife, The Knife’ hits differently without its visual companion. Somehow without the frankly distracting music video, a whole other dimension is accessed, the track sounds far more urgent, especially as Scogin wails “we got the vaccine so the disease cannot shake me lord.”
Referring back to Josh Scogin’s down-played description of the band’s style, Give One Take One certainly explores every corner of those aforementioned genres, as well as pushing their boundaries beyond their limits. While the band’s disjointed, djent-punk, rock n’ roll themes have been consistent across their previous outputs, Give One Take One is noticeably more melodic and dares to explore much darker territories. A continuation if you will, of those used on Two Parts Viper’s ‘Without Any Words’. Tracks such as ‘Bad Bite’ or ‘Nervous Passenger’, which also closed out a recent four –track ep released last year, more than make up for in melody what they lack in ferocity.
In addition to rock, blues and hardcore, ’68 may now also add the slightly more obscure musical stylings of gospel, rhythm & blues and psychedelic garage to their repertoire. The use of keys, new guitar tones and vocal effects all make way for new elements, some of which hark back to Scogin’s former band The Chariot. “Rock ‘n’ roll never cost me a thing” he spits on ‘Lover’s In Death’, ironic for someone seemingly in possession of the Midas touch.
While Give One Take One shatters all conventions, freely roaming and weaving its way around the rollercoaster ride that ’68 have taken us hostage upon, the occasional thought of ‘is this actually going anywhere?’ comes to mind. While many of the tracks build and build, they often end before there’s been any real payoffs, until album closer ‘The Storm, The Storm, The Storm’ that is. Feel free to add post-rock to that never ending ‘a little…’ list. This seven-minute crescendo is everything the album has been leading up to, a climax of which we the listener, are totally undeserving. A goose bump-inducing, phenomenal conclusion that’s worth the album’s weight in gold alone.
In short, whilst Give One Take One may well prove to be a little bit of everything, it’s certainly a lot of other things, venomous, haunting, passionate and utterly magnificent.
Give One Take One is out now via Cooking Vinyl.