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CD review: Scowl Brow's Born Again

Independent; Release Date: Sept. 20, 2014

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Aside from the infectious and energetic garage-rock style of its music, Scowl Brow's greatest strength is the honesty of singer Robbie Hale's lyrics. He's tackled his own loves, growth and family pains in the past and this six-song EP is no different.

"... whatever I did made me the bad kid/Dad used to beat me up cause the Holy Spirit told him to do it; I started having sex on the school bus, and I tried killing myself with my homemade drugs," Hale sings, giving the listener a heavy-handed portrait of a rough childhood from the opening track. Other songs mention cocaine, Xanax, Molly and marijuana without hesitation. The weight of his lyrical content is that you don't have to easily relate to Hale's portrait to feel like you're living it just the same.

He's also not afraid to give a frank perspective, even if it's far from politically correct. "Tell me what the hell is going wrong in this town, every day there's more pussy hipsters around/you never know who's straight or who's off suckin' some dudes," Hale sings on "Mediocre My Ass," a line that's sure to draw plenty of criticism for its honesty.

"Cold Dirty Bed" is a solo acoustic song that once again showcases Hale's storytelling and raspy vocals.

Scowl Brow isn't the band you want to listen to for a polished portrait of life that you'd get from a Disney child star. Rather, it offers the backstage or ringside seat view of a person who's been bruised and battered and only grown stronger for it.

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