Ryan Struck has come up with one of our recent favorite musical avatars of the many we come across each day (but still not better than REO Speeddealer): Scary Hours. We also must give him props for crafting a song about hiding in his refrigerator, finding refuge among the quarter-full half-and-half containers and cold pizza in “Fridge Hunter” off his recently released, and also brilliantly titled, Live to Serve.

It’s fairly obvious, considering the specificity of the subject matter, that Struck did his fair share of time in the punk penitentiary in his younger years. Apparently it was a stint in culinary school (what else?) that turned him around onto a less harsh, but no less biting, songwriting path. Scary Hours managed to catch the attention of Pyrrhic Victory Records. The fine PVR staff took an instant liking to his seemingly irreverent yet underhandedly emotional songwriting, including tracks detailing his career plunge into the serpentine Bosch-scape of the restaurant world, an experience which left him rattled, sleep deprived, and whiskey-soaked, not to mention a better songwriter. And while late night, last ditch bus rides out of Port Authority may be well-trodden ground for many a songwriter, Struck imbues his cheap ride ticket with a true sense of desperation mixed with a “nothing to lose” humor that seems to be lacking here at the tale end of the 2010s.

And we salute it.

“Circling Shit” deals with, well, circles and shit, failed attempts to break cycles, running from nothing, fixed points, deep set personal ley lines that can never be breached. And yet there’s a resigned sense of calm, or at least acceptance, undercutting any desperation that gives the track an intriguingly enlightened feel. There’s also some tasty guitar work on this one that leaves the distinct impression that this dude can probably shred when nobody’s around.

The songs on Live to Serve will immediately hit a chord if you happen to find the current pre-apocalyptic landscape a somewhat fascinating framework to navigate. At least it provides some rich subject matter, which Scary Hours takes full advantage of on LTS, not quite reveling in the wastelands but at least finding the types of glistening refuse needed to craft a good song.


Tina Romano