Scott Ritcher was one of the masterminds behind the rise of Louisville hardcore in the early 90's. He had some extraordinary ideas on how to promote his label, Slamdek. He even had his own girls’ field hockey team. Later Scott even ran for mayor, he lost, but you have to admire his ambition.
The Metroschifter is Ritcher's three-piece rock outfit that also features Pat McClimans from Endpoint fame. Carbonistas is also their sixth album. The Metroschifter are a different listen with their rumbling baselines, off timed drumbeats, odd-tuned guitars, and Scott's passionate off-timed yelp. If you need some comparisons think of Quicksand mixed with that last Endpoint 10". The songs follow an ebb and flow of layered noisy guitars on top of fill laden drums and then Ritcher comes in singing his melodramatic monotone yell. In a way, The Metroschifter reminds of Jawbox in the way that they are both pop bands that refuse to write pop songs. There's always something that lies just below a Metroschifter song that you think that you could almost hear these songs on the radio. On the other hand, something makes the songs unfriendly to the airwaves. Maybe it has to do with the ambitions nature of each track.
There are eight tracks on Carbonistas and the first three are the best. "Goodbye Narragansett" starts with brown note inducing bass line and the launches into some squealed guitars and the drummer decides to lose it in time behind the kick. "It's All Fucked Up" is an alterna-pop hit love/hate song with quiet/loud dynamics about a relationship that should have never happened. "Murder" is another pop hit masquerading as a noisy post-hardcore song with its slack anthems of lovelorn depression. After those three songs Carbonistas loses gets a little off track with drum tracked and studio magic instrumental "06-60-1997". After that, I realize why I never kept any other Metroschifter albums around. Ritcher and his cohorts always go off on these weird noise tandems and sometimes never come back to what makes Metroschifter good. In addition, I could have really done without the Honky Tonk of "Knob Creek". If they could for once just write a full album of solid non-pop hits, I'd be a happy camper. The Metroschifter has their own sound, which is rarity in a sea of bands that were their influences on their sleeves and in their riffs.
After fifteen years and doing everything in his power to keep Louisville underground music on the map, Scott Ritcher and his Metroschifter still know how to put out a decent album, albeit another haphazard listen. The guitars crunch, Ritcher yells, and the drums crash and slam in their own Metroschifter way that makes Carbonistas an enjoyable album to listen to as a whole.
7.5 / 10
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