Caterpillar Tracks – Scrape The Summer EP

Caterpillar Tracks
Scrape The Summer EP

Any concert attendee has been subjected to standing through an opening band the likes of Caterpillar Tracks. The four piece from Ohio is another in a long line of bands with big Les Paul guitar riffs, extra low end bass, and screaming vocalists who test the patience of fans waiting for the set to end. Even though it’s a mere 18 minutes their latest offering, the EP Scrape The Summer, tends to drag on in what feels longer than a typical 40 minute set.

Owing a debt to the early 90’s DC post hardcore scene Caterpillar Tracks try to break out of full-on power chord mode but don’t quite know how to make it happen. Vocalist/guitarist Shane Johnson yelps overtop the basic chord progressions with a back of the throat style that shows no restraint, unlike Ian MacKaye, who he’s often been compared to. Across 4 of the 5 songs on the EP the band struggles to grab the listener’s attention with attempts at occasional bits of melody and when that doesn’t work, worse attempts at noise. That 5th and final song wanders on aimlessly for four & a half minutes; nothing more than what sounds like firework explosions replicated with guitar feedback and maybe some amp kicking, but unfortunately no actual guitar pyrotechnics of any kind are on hand. The final minute and a half of the song is nothing more than a typical instrumental, all instruments that previously survived the melee included.

Perhaps at attempting to turn a few heads the band chose Bob Weston to master the album but by this point it was far too late. Production on the album is oddly weak; the drums sound like wet cardboard and on the few occasions the songs try to catch fire, such as the breakdown in “How Secure, Secure” they fail to elicit any power.

The latest wave of post hardcore has yet to come along, being subverted by the rise of emo most likely, but when a band fails to build on the foundation of the greats that have come before, that second wave will likely be ignored.