[REVIEW] anxioushum – Scratching on the 8

The new EP from anxioushum, Scratching on the 8, is tagged with “emo,” “queer,” and “sad shit” on the bandcamp release page. I’m a simple gal, so when I see a release described with any of those phrases, let alone all three of them, I’m running to it. If you’re like me and you crave gay emo depression, then you’ve gotta listen to this. Actually, even if you’re not like me, you should listen.

This EP is less than ten minutes long, yet in that short running time, anxioushum proves they have a lot to offer. The Long Island duo consists of Syd Diaz (they/them) and Matt Sherman (he/him), and they really shine on this debut. The release is filled with fuzzy guitars, anthemic lyrics, and best of all, that gay sad shit I crave. Since it’s such a bite-sized release, it’ll leave you craving more, but in the meantime, you’ll be content to replay these tracks over and over.

Billy Mannino, who’s worked with the likes of oso oso and Tree River, recorded the EP and also plays drums and guitar on the project. Listening to the rich layers of guitars interplay with one another is a borderline transcendent experience. On each listen, I catch another element of instrumentation I didn’t notice before, and let the crunchy guitars and pleading vocals wash over me.

The strongest track on here is, without a doubt, “Notice 2.0.” That’s not to say that the other tracks aren’t great too, of course, but this final song serves as the climax to the whole listening experience.  There are rumbles of distortion in the background of the first verses, creating a dissonance between the twinkling lead guitars. It emulates the anxiety and distress present in the song, making the emotions palpable.

The song sounds great on its own, but it’s even more powerful if you’ve heard the old demo version. “Notice 2.0” is a re-release of a song that was originally recorded before vocalist and guitarist Syd Diaz (they/them) transitioned. The new version takes on a whole new life, symbolizing a step in a new direction for the musicians. And I’m happy to say that that new direction is a beautiful one.

Scratching on the 8 is out today (May 20th, 2022) via Dead Broke Records. You can stream it wherever you listen to music, support it on bandcamp, or pre-order the vinyl.

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