Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Slices - Still Cruising

Posing alongside cars for album covers sounds way more 'lackluster R&B moron' than 'caustic Pittsburgh punk band', but once you sink into the noise-fog of a Slices record, you quickly recognise the cover art as one great big ironicstatement.jpg - there merely to sort the wheat from the chaff and to pinch back the title of 'most ridiculous album art' from those pesky Australians in Total Control.

The new LP 'Still Cruising' follows on from last year's debilitatingly good 'Cruising', a gnarled, gristly pop at writing Wolf Eyes on a Jesus Lizard trip hardcore. Out on Iron Lung records, 'Still Cruising' reboots the Medusa / Nightmare Man template of 'Cruising', and hip thrusts into selections of the more soberly written Butthole Surfers back catalogue. The band spoke about mimicking some of the guitar sounds from In Utero, which begs the question of how much Albini influence managed to permeate into the ethos behind this new LP.

The track 'Greensleeves' lords it over most of side A's efforts with it's rumbling groove of Pissed Jeans fan friendly noise punk. 'Why Do You Make Yourself Sad?' plays like '1000 Hurts' era Shellac dancing down hard on the grave of sacred Deep Wound of Massachusetts.

Rock n' Roll is Still Cruising's game. Taking more influence from eminent sources rather than the fucking Wanky's or something. 'All My Life' is a borderline foot-off-the-gas-pedal 90's druggy post-hardcore type excursion, just with grizzlier vocals than Walter Schriefels could ever shake a stick at. Do you have the stones to slow-dance to this half-waltzer?

Despite the more obvious lineage, this record evades neat classification. By refining the lugubrious nature of 'Cruising' into this fat-trimmed, needle-pointed punk thumper, Slices have pushed themselves further out to sea. They now have more in common with fellow Pennsylvanians Kim Phuc than ever before, as the Throbbing Gristle elements of 2004's Do U Like Mud are all but a fond memory.

Still Cruising is a marked progression, and a natural one at that. Who would begrudge these fellows the chance to write in earnest? The two Mikes, Greg and John have put together a more than confident batch of songs here, talking up the appeal of accessibility and the benefits of leaning on conventionality from time to time.

Listen to the entire record here

- Josh

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