For better or for worse, Scott Reynolds is best known for his four-year run as the vocalist for ALL. You know, the band that was guilty of not being Descendents. Of ALL’s three vocalists during its existence, I’ve always regarded Reynolds as the best of the three. It helped that he sang on arguably ALL’s three best records (Allroy’s Revenge, Allroy Saves and Percolater) and their very underrated live record, Trailblazer. Not only are his vocals great, but he penned quite a few of ALL’s best tunes. (e.g.: “Dot,” “Wonder,” “Frog,” “Prison,” “Cyclops”) As with any band who was guilty of not being Descendents, ALL was always an underdog band who was always fighting the weight of Milo. All the while, Reynolds fit the mold as their underdog vocalist. He wrote lyrics about poverty where people lived in boxes, not having enough money for gas, and about a couple having to eat Wonder Bread and Beefaroni while being frowned upon by family members. However, in 1993, following a spat with one of his bandmates, Reynolds quit the band.
In the years following his departure, he joined Goodbye Harry who even released two records on the same SST Records off shoot (Cruz Records) that ALL had released their early albums on. Musically, they were rougher than ALL but still quite ALL-adjacent. After Goodbye Harry, other bands (e.g.: Pavers, The Bonesaw Romance, The Steaming Beast, and Fastgato) followed. However, in more recent years, aside from the occasional ALL reunions, he has performed as a solo artist where his live shows have also included stripped-down versions of his old band material. In 2014, he released Stupid World,which included a guest appearance by Descendents/ALL guitarist Stephen Egerton.
Chihuahua In Buffalo was released digitally back in early 2021, but it’s just now that it’s seeing a vinyl release. This is not a disc of all new material. Seven of the twelve songs on this disc have been released previously in various forms, always with some sort of accompaniment. However, on Chihuahua, these songs are stripped down to the barest of bones. SOLO ACOUSTIC. You got Reynolds, his voice, and his guitar. Chihuahua is largely an upbeat affair with only some mild melancholy. Described as “jazzy-crooner tunes,” these songs are fine by themselves but since I know that “Dot” was one of the best ALL songs they ever recorded and that “Spit” first popped up on Goodbye Harry’s 1995 LP Food Stamp B-BQ, I can’t help to wonder what a full band would do for the new tunes. On his Bandcamp page, it mentions he is working on new tunes with Pavers, so I can’t but wonder what “What’s The Price for Innocence” would become with electricity + bass + guitar and drums. “Marie Is an Easter Egg” and “Brian’s Agoraphobia Song” have the whole verse-chorus-verse structure working, so who knows about “Gillian Anderson Should Go on A Date with Me” and “Hello Lee Ann?” Personally, I prefer Electric Reynolds, but nevertheless, Chihuahua is still a rather enjoyable 40 minutes even for a listener not all that versed in solo acoustics. Because damnit, the voice is still there. Reynolds has always had that going for him. | David Lichius
The vinyl release of Scott Reynolds’ Chihuahua in Buffalo is available August 12th.