Mesmerizing rhythms and weird, intricate electric corridors. Portland, Oregon’s Schaus strikes peculiar sounds in the deliciously odd album Grinding. The moniker of Scott Schaus, this one-man wrecking ball contrasts the light and energy of music into 14 remarkably sonic pleasures. Grinding gets the mind churning and the body moving.
Schaus can go from disjointed sounds to euphoria. The challenge in writing a review is that the feeling of these songs is paramount to the lyrics. In my opinion, it’s the wave of emotion that Schaus presents to his listener that is key. In the first track, “Sullied” the music bed is spellbinding and quirky. The second track, “Came Up and Hit Me” flows like a busy street scene. By the 11th track, “Much” there’s a jarring, Trent Reznor-like razer slashing through the base. While Schaus does sing, he tends to talk-sing. His voice is deep.
In track eight, the title track, he has this mumbling-sing approach. It’s a bit like Billie Eilish. He has this crooner vibe going for him, too, that is dare I say it, a bit like Falco. In “Love What You’re Saying” he sings, with labor, “couldn’t bother myself for several years…every door that closed…oh…oh…oh”. Those last ‘oh’s’ sound like he’s exhaling a gulp of air. The music bed underneath him is mechanical and purposeful. The way he manipulates his vocals in this song, and in others, is pretty damn cool. It almost has an eerie industrial tone (think early Depeche Mode).
These songs made me feel like Schaus gives his listeners the room to interpret the songs the way his listeners deem. He’s not shoving love songs down one’s throat. The grooves are slick and mix-matched in peculiar ways at times. All of the tracks are artistic achievements. His mind certainly works in a mysterious way, but his musical soul has an instant rapport. The breathing room to open one’s mind, as a listener, is appreciated. He’s not also not trying to shape a certain sound or follow the same path with each track. Some of the tracks might have nontraditional patterns, but Schaus has this remarkable ability to switch movement and flow at just the right times. As a listener, you can’t get too comfortable in a state-of-mind, but knowing that you might come back to that same thought process is comforting. In other words, you get to visit an emotion for a bit, and before you know it, you’re on a different wavelength, but return to the scene of the crime. A bit mind boggling, yes, but Schaus has your senses all covered! Frankly, I think he’s smarter than everyone and on a completely different planet, much like Frank Zappa, and both he and his music are not of this time period. We haven’t quite caught up to the imagination and the level of thought put into his music. Bravo.
Fans of Depeche Mode, Savagez, Plush City, Nine Inch Nails, KMFDM and more will want to check out all the tracks on Grinding.
Donate to IndiePulse Music Magazine’s Academic and Music Education Scholarship Program HeartBeat4Kids
IndiePulse Music Magazine creates Scholarships to help Youth In Need of assistance to complete their educational goals and stay in school.