SIDE TRACKED RECORDS
© 2016 by SIDE TRACKED RECORDS, LLC
SCOTT AND AIMEE
Prescription pills and booze binges. What-the-f**k-ever one night stands. Dying young and leaving a beautiful rock ‘n’ roll corpse, Janis and Jimi-style. When the XX half of the pop-punk/reggae/rock super duo says she wanted to give people a “party record,” she’s not kidding. But that’s only one chapter in the story of Sitting in a Tree, the first collaboration between wild things Aimee Allen and Unwritten Law leader Scott Russo. Sometimes the album is the perfect soundtrack for witching hour indulgence (try swaggering leadoff track “Good Times”), but just as often it’s a brutally honest sketchbook of two mirror image misfits against the world, fiercely battling false presumptions and embracing the highs and lows of love.
The self-described “beautiful trainwreck” left the station on the first night of a 2003 Unwritten Law tour in Phoenix; Russo caught Allen’s opening set and was blown away by the Montana native’s acid tongue and unhinged stage presence. They hung out in the bus afterwards and marveled at the many parallels that bandmates and managers alike had noticed. Agreeing that Allen’s solo whirlwind I’d Start a Revolution (If I Could Get Up in the Morning) was the sister album to Unwritten Law’s Elva, they immediately cranked out three songs together. Although Russo had already enjoyed the spoils of more than a decade of work with UL—including five Top 20 singles, three of which hit Top 10, and one #1—he immediately felt revitalized working with Allen.
“I love this record and can’t wait for the world to hear it. I think a lot of people will be able to relate to us.”
Allen and Russo were also on common ground musically. When it was time to get serious about Sitting in a Tree, they hauled their love for rock and reggae into a tornado of diverse influences. Allen’s explanation is simple and modest: “We wanted to make a fun record and play music we like to listen to.” (“We wanted to make sure people liked us in Hawaii so we could play beach cities,” Russo counters with a laugh). The album pinballs unpredictably from identity crisis assault rock (“Miss America”) to glum campfire balladry about collapsed love (“Too Fucked Up”). Sitting in a Tree is blunt force trauma autobiography, a catalogue of the heavenly ups and hellish downs Allen and Russo share together, but it’s no preachy cautionary tale.
“Yeah, I was abused as a kid,” Allen notes, “so what? We’re all a little fucked up. The main message of this record is you’re not alone—so no worries.”
Clearly, Allen—who Russo accurately describes as the “black version” of sunny side up Gwen Stefani—rarely minces words. When she explains her concussive lyrics by shrugging “Life isn’t a poem,” there’s nothing not to get.
Russo adds “Yeah, this record is very personal.”
Get ready for Scott and Aimee and their full- frontal assault on the senses.
Buckling up won’t remotely prepare you.