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An unconventional merger of
acoustic rock and hip-hop

Scratch Track - Interpretation of the Afterwards
(Eclipse Partnership)
4 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Oct. 19, 2007
Scratch Track

Review by Andy Argyrakis

The phrase "acoustic hip-hop soul" may yet to be integrated within daily genre vernacular, but Kansas City's Scratch Track is amongst the few forward thinking indie acts putting the amalgamation on the map. Since releasing its first CD in 2003, the eclectic brew worked steadily in the group's favor, leading to opening act slots as diverse as George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Erykah Badu, Jurassic 5, Twista, Soulive, Living Colour and Los Lonely Boys. From then until now, the duo comprised of rapper/singer/human beat box DJ Lee and guitarist/harmonica player Jason Hamlin released a series of EP and full-length titles, scored a single on CSI: New York, an "Honorable Mention" nod in the 14th Annual *Billboard* World Songwriting Contest and a 2007 tour throughout Europe.

Clearly that string of fortune rubbed off on the pair's creative energies come Interpretation of the Afterwards, a robust display of pop, acoustic rock, funk, R&B and rap. "All Night" is an early standout wrapped around chucky guitars, voice-generated backbeats and powerful pipes reminiscent of the ever so smooth Seal channeled through the dirtier tones of Lenny Kravitz. "Will You" evokes something current hip-hop influenced crooner Mat Kearney might churn out, but with a much more earthy flavor, free of distracting major label production gloss.

The guys even turn slightly grungy on "It Can Be Done," recalling the 90s boom of the trend in present tense, but again centered around Lee's commanding vocals. In fact, the deeper one dives into the disc, the more its wide plane of genre jumping is apparent, such as the neo soul tipped "1,000 Years" or the garage-slapped acoustics of "Stick" (a concept fleshed out even further in concert that can find Hamlin sampling strums of The White Stripes one second and Radiohead a few minutes later). Between that charmingly unpredictable maze and Scratch Track's ability to pave a path few have followed thus far, the pair's highly stylized niche abounds with unexpected but astoundingly agreeable rhythms and grooves.

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