Sometimes it feels as though bands are set up for a fall, and Scout Killers are no exception. After all, for a band still very much in their infancy in terms of material released, they’ve already been compared to such rock titans as Alter Bridge, Pearl Jam and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Clearly there’s something here beyond the stigma of an old-school hard rock band in 2017 that Scout Killers are getting across.
And that may be case, but right now, Deception is really only dipping its toes into the successes of those bands at their best. But while Scout Killers may be far from the finished article, there’s at least a solidified base sound here that can definitely be built on, with the big, unsubtle arena-rock riffs that aren’t a million miles away from those who they’ve drawn comparisons with, and Scott Cox having the sort of vocals that would be right at home on US rock radio. Basically, the seams are still showing, but Scout Killers sound at least adds up to the sum of its parts, if not much more.
Perhaps a more pertinent comparison, then, is Nickelback, in that Scout Killers have a clearly defined sound that does work for them, but there’s not a lot that can be done with it. Even among these four tracks, the limitations already begin to show; Freak Show stands as a pretty good, groove-heavy track, and the more reckless, emotionally-driven Keep Telling Me Lies is a step up again, but Let It All Go and You Have It All offer little else apart from what’s already been done here, essentially just repackaging the first two tracks in a thinly-veiled way. At least with Alter Bridge and especially Pearl Jam, there was a deeper well of ideas to pull from; Scout Killers’ dearth of real ingenuity and inspiration is already showing through, even on a release that’s pretty bare-bones to start with.
At least Deception isn’t completely dead on arrival in terms of solid moments, and if a place on the US festival circuit ever opens up, Scout Killers would manage to fit in seamlessly. But at the end of the day, Deception is a pretty pale piece of evidence for a band growing and evolving, seeing them confined to a limited, often shallow set of ideas. It could work in the future – there’s always a market for these sorts of bands – but a lot of work needs to be put in; right now, Scout Killers are really only playing with the basics.
For fans of: Nickelback, Alter Bridge, Godsmack
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Deception’ by Scout Killers is released on 7th July.