Anglo-Greek producer Andy Dragazis creates a very pleasing mixture of styles with his fictional Greek garage rock band The Scatharies
ctually a project by multi-talented, Anglo-Greek producer Andy Dragazis, the concept of The Scantharies is that they are a Greek garage rock band from the late 1960s, gloriously conquering the island of Evia (“Dream Island”) with this, their best of.
The music is entirely instrumental and the back story is all part of its enjoyment. Dragazis imagines that The Scantharies took inspiration from a real-life visit from The Beatles and their “fixer” Magic Alex in the ’60s. Given that this is the band’s best of, any potential trepidation at the lack of a vocal is assuaged by the variety and progression within.
The album awakens in a jangle, with the short opener It’s The Scantharies. It then introduces the sort of driven Hank Marvin riff that typifies its first half. Both The Start and I’ve Got The Green Light are classic rock ‘n’ roll given a bit of verve and some 21st Century production. Heavy percussion underlies it all, while retro crackling and fizzing (akin to The Coral’s first album) break in.
“REMINISCENT OF ONE OF METRONOMY’S MORE DRAMATIC MOMENTS”
Track four The Bear is reminiscent of one of Metronomy’s more dramatic moments and What The Gods Want… matches a marching beat with a potential spaghetti-western soundtrack. One of those Ventures-inspired, reverb-heavy riffs then returns on Feat Of Flames.
From here, the band appears to progress, naturally, into more experimental territory. Berlin may not be the full-on techno expected, but that Shadows-riff is now accompanied by a notably fuzzier synth. By Advance Forward, Hank has given way to a more choral and expansive sound, and the electro beat of The Whispering Sound could be straight from a Hot Chip track. A melodic piano line then climbs, with sweeping orchestration gathering behind it. It’s a highlight.
The final two tracks see the band immersed in the production of Brian Eno. Hip Messiah beckons the listener into a darker, atmospheric landscape and The Cross leaves them there. Both wouldn’t sound out of place on Bowie’s classis Low album.
Verdict: Coherently rolls out a career’s worth of highlights