The Scabby Knees Create Hope From Despair on Debut Album Fragments

The Scabby Knees - Fragments album cover

Fragments - 4.6 out of 5 stars

The Scabby Knees are a relatively new band out of Belgium that formed around members of previous bands coming together after lead singer Teun Van Aerschot started to put together the music for the band during the COVID pandemic before he could bring a band together to play the music.

Their debut album Fragments (out on March 11th) is a mix of pop punk and a dive into isolation and depression amidst what feels like a full album of reflection of society, on regrets, moments of weakness, and loss.

The first song on the album is a bit of an anthemic rocker called “In The Grand Scheme of Things” which suggests that while it may be a fantasy to “set fire to the world” Van Aerschot sings, “I didn’t know back then it was already too late for that.”

The title song “Fragments” is an incredibly personal song about the loss of a father at a young age, and it is masked by a pop-heavy hook and uptempo sound which makes the song great to listen to AND great to “hear.” Meaning, no matter how deeply you pay attention this song is good, but it is made even better by the backstory and meaning behind it.

The band’s name itself is mentioned in that song as well as some rhetorical questions are asked and memories pondered:

“Were you happy, were you open-minded, were you proud to be my dad? 
At the races where you sometimes took me I was naming all the brands 
of all the cars that sped by. Yeah man, I remember that.
Just like the time with my scabby knees when I almost fell to my death. 
You tried quitting cigarettes. Your stubble on my cheek.”

The overall music has a way to float between pop punk and a bit more of a melodic rock sound that reminds me at times of bands like The Goo Goo Dolls or Gin Blossoms from the 90’s (with a more punk sound). 

One song that seems to come a bit out of nowhere is “Summer Punks.” It has a pretty standard punk song format, but then also has a ska chorus with horns. I hate to say it, but it kinda feels like the song was either made to be a single, or it was added to this album for the sake of drawing a more punk-friendly crowd to pick up the album, because I don’t think it cohesively fits the rest of the album.

It’s still a pretty good song, but it is just totally different from everything else.

I normally like when an album has different sounding songs, but this one just felt forced in this instance. I prefer it to be more natural to jump back and forth between sounds.

The last song on the album “Eyes Filled With Sorrow” is one of the better songs on the album. It’s a great ending song too as it seems to be about the crossroads of a few things but ultimately it seems to be about leaving your past behind and growing up when things like alcohol and emotional pain drive each other in a cycle of self-prescribed coping. 

Basically, yeah, it can suck to deal with your past, and it sucks to face the responsibilities of adulthood. But it is something that everyone has to deal with, and we all deal with it in our own way.

I applaud Van Aerschot for adding a lot of personal conflict into his lyrics while keeping them vague enough to also be applicable to a larger audience.

“Fragments” and “In the Grand Scheme of Things” are probably my favorite two songs on the album, and I highly recommend them.

Overall, the album is really good, and there are probably 2-3 songs on here that most rock fans will enjoy, and a majority of rock fans would probably like the entire album.

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