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Resin Scraper
Heard Mentality

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Label: Birdman Released: 6/23/2001

During New York City’s early punk era, a sea of bobbing extremists whined the following anthemic refrain “I belong to the blank generation”. These howling stable-runts bore little resemblance to the witty, jarring sardonic stage performers who tried to authentically comment on societal ills. When record executives caught wind of this, and the effect these artists had on the desperate overloaded masses, they moved in transforming these artists from street-wise storytellers to an eroded parody of spiked hair and torn clothes. In other words, when record companies saw that kids found it easier to emulate a look, rather than a sound, they released dozens of carbon copy, pouty Lower-East stars – a series of “Kids With Replaceable Heads”. Now, fast forward to 2001, and you’ll see some things never change. John Westhaver, Resin Scraper’s front-man and owner of Ottawa’s successful Birdman Records, has seen a lot of that record company crap over the years - from the first punk uprising to Nirvana’s bruising take on the movement. On previous releases, he has written about ordinary people living upside down lives in and on the outer edges of society. So, it comes as no surprise then that with Heard Mentality, Westhaver steps back, examines the big picture again, and serves up a snapshot of the rise and fall of the village idiot. Heard Mentality is filled with hornet-nest guitars, gnarly vocals, lyrics that yoke adolescent nastiness and prurience inside the social context of today’s aggression and complaints. Drop the needle anywhere and you’ll be treated to a snarl. Add in some real yabba-dabba-do fun, giddy harmonica and you’ve got a sense of the disk. Basically, it aims towards culling the flock of yearly Darwin award winners. Best moments on the disk include You’re So Boring, Harmful If Swallowed, and Shock Absorber. Heard Mentality is at times hyperactive, and slightly jagged. It manages to sit halfway between cynical tight-ass political commentary and balls-to-the-wall psycho-punk-a-rock. Intelligent enough to satisfy the highbrow crowd and rockin’ enough to screw to. What more do you need? The production is tantalizingly confused, being both crisp and raw at the same time. Frankly, the rawer and dirtier RS sounds, the better. Resin Scraper songs deal with the damaged and slightly disenfranchised. Westhaver’s ability to focus on this duality of life applies to his personal life as well, where he has managed to parlay old crew punk and business smarts into a highly respected reputation in Ottawa’s local music scene. Maybe because of this, folks are rediscovering Resin Scraper’s historic relationship with Ottawa’s music scene. By appearing with acts like Nashville Pussy, trailer-trash’s answer to wang-dang-a-doodle, Resin’s punk roots has been compared to that style of music- but I don’t think that’s a fair comparison. No-one should come to the conclusion that they have jumped on the latest fad. Far from it, Resin Scraper's been playing loud, staying-to-the-core shit for ages, and this disk proves it. Unfortunately, the people who would most benefit from Herd Mentality are those who probably will never hear it – like folks at Xpress, muzak directors at the Carlingwood Shopping Mall, the Prime Minister, even Sheila Copps. But that’s the sad reality of life - sometimes you’re preaching to the converted already. Listen top this record and you’ll harken back to those firebrand days when we all foolishly believed that the Ramones and Sex Pistols would overturn the whole rock establishment. That said, there’s something for everyone’s tastes here and you’ll probably find yourself listening to the whole thing over and over again – even if you are the village idiot.

Gordon McDonald Email WWW


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