Walter Schreifels: An Open Letter To The Scene

Walter Schreifels: An Open Letter To The Scene
Walter Schreifels has one of the strongest indie rock resumes. He started in Youth Crew staples Youth of Today and went on to work as lyricist and song-writer of Gorilla Biscuits. After Gorilla Biscuits demise, he played in several short-lived bands including Quicksilver and CIV. His most recent band was Rival Schools. The group has been defunct since 2003 when their sophomore album was shelved. Now, Walter Schreifels re-emerges with his first solo album, An Open Letter To The Scene.
Going solo is a big step for a guy that has been in as many bands as Schreifels has been. Its even more odd when you consider the hardcore pedigree he comes from. Hardcore musicians do not generally go for the softer stuff. But Schreifels makes the transition well from aggressive electric guitars to acoustic based music. An Open Letter To The Scene is not just Schreifels and his guitar. The album features many full band arrangements but Schreifels on acoustic guitar is a staple throughout.
Schreifels does a stripped down cover of Agnostic Front’s “Society Suckers”. The track features on acoustic guitar, bass, and bongos. It’s a completely different look at a punk anthem but the track holds up surprisingly well under such treatment. Schreifels also rearranges CIV’s “Don’t Gotta Prove It” from their Set Your Goals album. The arrangement is a bit more complex with some electric guitar, drums, bass, and keyboards.
But the two covers only represent a small chunk of what Schreifels does on the album. His track “Ballad Of Lil’ Kim” is an obvious tongue-in-cheek jaunt. Musically, it’s catchy and uptempo but lyrically its a little too goofy in the context of the album. The track that follows “Ballad of Lil’ Kim” is also the album’s closing track, “Open Letter”. The track is obviously one of the most serious tracks on the album. The track is a lament of the hardcore scene that Schreifels grew up in, ruled, and ultimately seemed to leave. The track is very personal but easily graspable even if you have no idea who Raybeez is.
Ultimately, although the album is a bit of a mixed bag, I think its really eye-opening for a man who has been so starkly associated with hardcore and post-hardcore. An Open Letter To The Scene is obviously lighter than his previous work, but the same songwriting spark that fans have come to love from Schreifels remains.
Rating: 7.3/10
MP3: Walter Schreifels “Open Letter”
Buy: iTunes or Insound!