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8 out of 10
There are certain bands, especially post-hardcore ones, whose fans are just a little bit over-dedicated. At the Drive-In, Refused, Rival Schools, talk to a fan of any of these bands and they'll find some way to outline to you, with practiced accuracy, exactly how their particular favourite band changed the face of punk and therefore is one of the most important and criminally underrated bands of the last twenty years (I know I've done it at least once).
This kind of rabid fandom is what could make or break Walter Schreifels' first solo album. Over the course of a seemingly non-stop career, Schreifels has been in Gorilla Biscuits, Quicksand, CIV, Rival Schools and various other cult indie bands. With this record, Schreifels acknowledges his roots, but doesn't dwell.
An Open Letter to The Scene is similar in tone to other 'front man gone solo' indie records built around an acoustic guitar, at times there are reminders of Paul Westerberg, Ben Kweller or Matt Pryor. Whilst not as ground breaking as some of his other work, the songs on An Open Letter... are beautifully crafted, sixties-influenced pop pieces.
For me, the only time this record really misses it's mark is with one of the two covers, the Agnostic Front song is perfect and I like an acoustic cover of a hardcore song as much as everyone else, but the CIV song 'Don't Gotta Prove It' (which Schreifels originally wrote) just doesn't translate into an indie song that well.
This record won't change the world, but it is a perfectly formed album of acoustic indie rock. If you can, you should go out and find An Open Letter to the Scene. Trust me; Walter Schreifels never makes bad records.
1. Arthur Lee's Lullaby
2. She Is To Me
3. Society Sucker
4. Save The Saveables
6. Don't Gotta Prove It
7. Wild Pandas
9. Ballad Of Lil' Kim
10. Open Letter To The Scene