“”Small Talk” deals with grief and learning to support a friend going through a tough time. My father passed away of cancer a few years ago and my bandmate Alec recently lost a parent as well. The song touches on our bonding through such a difficult shared experience, wanting to connect and being there to support each other but not knowing how, often resorting to familiar, insignificant topics for fear of getting “too real.”” -Sean Camargo
Originally a working title representing the first letters of the band members’ names (Sean, Cory, Alec, Brandon), S.C.A.B. is an acronym with a shifting meaning – its phonetic double acting as a metaphor for protection and healing for a group that’s always been there for one another.
Following the release of the band’s debut album, 2019’s Beauty & Balance, COVID-19 put the brakes on the Brooklyn-based band’s burgeoning career. Not content with sitting still, the band decided to travel down to Georgia to record their sophomore, self-titled LP (S.C.A.B.), which they engineered and produced themselves. (side note: Brandon, the letter “B” in S.C.A.B., does play on this record, but has since left the group to focus on solo work under the name Hayfitz.) Having distance from their beloved city during this unprecedented, tragic time helped them hone a sound that is even more distinctly New York.
Frontman Sean Camargo, whose parents immigrated from Ecuador and Bolivia as teenagers, was born in Elmhurst, Queens. His lyrics are colored with nostalgic memories of 90s Bushwick, where his grandparents later settled, alongside sardonic observations of the contemporary city where he landed again after stops in Maryland and Massachusetts. Each song on S.C.A.B. contains snapshots of New York moments that feel hazy with nostalgia, yet are the result of being present through transformational circumstances, no matter how seemingly small. As a self-titled effort, it solidifies the band’s mastery of balancing raucous, distorted guitars with glimmering spoken word passages and a pop-infused melodic confidence.
The angular guitar passages in lead single “Tuesday” conjure up trains skidding across deteriorated subway platforms, as Camargo declares he’s “trying to let go of everyone I’ve ever loved,” reflecting a relatable disillusionment with trying to form meaningful connections, and searching aimlessly for something worthwhile. Thematically, S.C.A.B. covers an array of topics ranging from grief (“Small Talk”), as Camargo describes bonding with another band member over the loss of a parent, to infatuation with a partner you know is ultimately bad for you (“Why Do I Dream Of You”).
S.C.A.B. is a result of four musicians, a tight-knit group, best friends: the kind of rare conditions that allow for such raw, emotionally-charged music. When the members of a band are this close, able to protect each other from the world outside it, they are a force to be reckoned with. As Frank Sinatra famously sang about the city, “Green beams of steel, making me feel, like I’m home again”. S.C.A.B. embodies that sentiment and evokes the intangible magic that is New York City.