Scott H. Biram | Nothin’ But Blood (Bloodshot)

cd Scott-BiramHis unabashed coarseness reveals a brilliance that remains brash, yet more studied and disenchanted than ever.

As the continuous guitar riff of Nothin’ But Blood’s kickoff track “Slow & Easy” suddenly starts like a nervous heartbeat, it becomes clear from its very beginning that this latest full-length album by Scott H. Biram sets itself apart from his earlier work. While Biram retains his trademark marriage of tough love, attitude, and roguish charm, he reveals a new sophistication to us in these 14 tracks in a way that suggests the somber complexity has always been there, but has been held back for our benefit until now.

The subsequent 13 songs slalom between folk, country, rock, blues, gospel, and a return to Biram’s erstwhile punk rock roots, as he declares confidently his ability to move between genres with the ease of a man who has chosen music as his first language. It is with this confidence that he is able to disclose his more introspective sensibilities in the quiet reflection of “Never Coming Home,” “Nam Weed,” and “I’m Troubled,” alongside the wicked, gravely blues of “Jack of Diamonds” and a simply authentic-sounding rendition of “Back Door Man.” Still more variety comes in the throaty “Only Whiskey,” which places the backdrop of an honest-to-goodness punk rock guitar rhythm behind a voice that busts out of the fuzzy tone like a Rottweiler through a broken gate. Beyond that is “Around the Bend,” invoking a sound more befitting the likes of The Melvins or The Jesus Lizard.

Biram’s one-man operation might allow him a measure of singularity. In Nothin’ But Blood, listeners find the fruit of that singularity, and the freedom it has afforded him to sharpen his unabashed coarseness into a brilliance that remains brash, yet more studied and disenchanted than ever. A | Jason Neubauer

RIYL: Tom Waits, The Black Keys, Hillstomp, Drive-by Truckers

For the real thing, Biram’s tour will bring him to St. Louis at Off Broadway on March 23 at 8 p.m.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply