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The Cringe
Scratch the Surface
Listen Recordings

Just looking at the cover of The Cringe’s new album, Scratch the Surface intrigued me.  It’s a black & white shot of some toy astronauts gravitating about in what could be a scene from a 50s sci-fi flick.  And when I put their CD into my player I wasn’t disappointed.  This band is one part practitioner of tried-and-true rock n’ roll, the hard stuff that  bands like Montrose, Deep Purple, and, of course, Led Zeppelin made famous before Heavy Metal was a term in heavy rotation.  Its other side reveals a more contemporary alternative sound: John Cusimano’s powerful pipes blasting out vocals, Rob Levin delivering crunching guitars to grunge-like rhythms or the occasional pop-punk backing.   

Cusimano wrote each of the 13 songs on Scratch the Surface.  He has quite the knack for it, as nearly every track includes catchy hooks and memorable licks.  “I’ve been alone” is a slowly building rocker that conveys the common plight of many disaffected: I’ve been alone…with you. On “Grave” the band does a fine Soundgarden impression, and on “Song 13” (which is actually track 11) The Cringe offers up a more progressively inclined instrumental.  Scratch the Surface shows that The Cringe has an arsenal of hard rock styles at its disposal that it’s not afraid to use.

Favorite Track: Track 4, “Kiss Me When You’re Dead” 

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Roland Goity is a writer of fiction, non-fiction and freelance business pieces.  His background includes marketing and promotion in the music industry and an inability to capably play his guitar no matter how hard he practices.  He can be reached at or at his web site


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