Reviews Ann Beretta Old Scars, New Blood

Ann Beretta

Old Scars, New Blood

There’s a lot of analysis when listening to Old Scars, New Blood. When singer Rob Huddleston sings, “Nothing ever changes/ Nothing ever stays the same” in “Fairweather,” it seems to epitomize the experience of this record, a re-recording of 13 songs by the recently born again Ann Beretta.

I can’t decide if this album is a great idea, modernizing a reformed band, or if it’s purely self-indulgent and unnecessary. Considering the state of ‘90s punk being mostly out of print, it’s probably the former. Plus, it emphasizes the reborn aspect of the band, using contemporary recording techniques to make Ann Beretta sound vibrant and timely instead of like something out of the archives. Nonetheless, I find it impossible not to listen through a nostalgic lens.

I’m not really sure how to review this record, but I’m sort of going in the “greatest hits” direction. It has most of the band’s memorable tracks from their five full-lengths, and it has a few of the issues that greatest hits records have, even with new recordings. The consistency and sound quality are the same from song to song, yet there are a few awkward jumps that sound like the songs come from different places. In re-recording, the band mixed things up, adding some organ here and there and tweaking tempo and vocal tenor. Huddleston’s voice is amazingly similar given how much time has passed, but in a track like “Russ’ Song,” it somehow sounds tinny and under produced, which is the opposite effect most of this record has. While the new mixes downplay some of the more experimental parts, like the reggae-ish segue in “Love’s Easy Tears,” some of those songwriting techniques feel a bit dated now.

Overall, Old Scars gives Ann Beretta songs a modern upgrade, maxing out the sound bar and slightly increasing the tempo in a way that complements their sing-along foundation. The real takeaway of this record is just how catchy the songs are. Not just because they’re good (they are), but they’re hard not to sing along to, even if you haven’t listened to them in 5-10 years. 

Ultimately, that’s the point here. Ann Beretta is back, and this isn’t just a teaser EP. It’s meant to introduce new fans instead of reaching the old followers. Many of the songs are already available in multiple versions (including a previous best of and a live record), but Old Scars, New Blood is easy to find and in-print.

I’d still prefer the original formats rather than a collection, but to each their own.

7.3 / 10Loren
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Say-10

2017

7.3 / 10

7.3 / 10

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