When you walk too fine of a line as a musician trying to balance multiple interests, you run the risk of never truly discovering your calling. While comprised of a few definite high points, Battery Park’s Scattered Pictures walks this razor edge, begging the question, “Who do they want to be when they grow up?”
To be certain, Scattered Pictures is one of those rare discs that gets better as you progress through the tracks. And let’s be realistic – for bands like Battery Park, visibility and respect aren’t contingent on a CD. Rather, it’s live performances and fan-base strength that serve as the group’s foundation. What better way to test you material than in front of one live audience after the other?
In a nutshell, Scattered Pictures is a mix of familiar styles and influences. One minute, the band comes across every bit as organic, simple and clean as John Mellencamp; the next minute they seem to be reaching for Creed’s higher ground with a stacked, contemporary vibe. And given Battery Park’s local Colorado upbringing, you can’t help but notice their jam-band flirtations and tendencies toward roots rock in other songs.
Of course, if you’re in a two-year-old band that must accommodate influences from six different members, you might not have it all figured out yet either. As for specifics, the first half of Scattered Pictures is too one-dimensional, opting to rely too heavily on J. Brown’s voice (which, incidentally is powerful, so the reliance is somewhat understandable).
As the disc progresses, we see the rhythm and lead sections make a stronger presence, thus producing better, resulting in more complete tunes (and, in my opinion, a unique sound for the band to build on). You’ll even get a few harmonies, which the disc seems to lack early on. While I’d liked to hear Battery Park settle into a well-defined sound that allows its obviously capable musicians to soar, I’ll give the band a ton of credit for putting this project on their backs and carrying it all the way without the support of a label.