Saturday 21 September 2013

Slim Wray - Sack Lunch

Album review by

Music. I love it. You love it. It's as varied as we all are. It can be full, complicated, intricate, weaving sounds around our skulls, played by a hundred souls. Then fundamentally the majority of the music we love comes from the primal swamp of early blues. Oft one man, guitar, maybe a drum. This is pretty much modern music's mother lode. Primal, pure, passionate; and this is a perfect description of Slim Wray. They follow a lineage of the blues, to the Stooges, MC5 to Royal Trux, JSBX to The White Strips, Deep Vally and our own Drenge and Bite the Buffalo. This isn't complicated music, it doesn't need to be. It is raw, at times visceral, but at all times shit-kickin' great stuff. And (as all albums should) they open 'Sack Lunch' with a song with "girl" in the title: 'I Gotta Girl (with a list of needs)'. This is a stomping song, riding in on a near glam, New York Dolls riff. Instantly you are a-shakin' and a-groovin', then huge drums break out and you are dancing naked around your room. After the stomp of 'I Gotta…' we are given a taste of delicious harmonies and Spector-like sweetness in the shaker that is 'Reaction'. It is something that will fill dance-floors the world over. Like the Hives getting carnal the Beach Boys, and at 2.55 it perfectly timed.

Then we are down to the bump and grind with 'Bear' which pivots around a awesome riff, precision-placed "woos" and the line, "C'mon girl. Don't get me wet". Then you get a stutter blast solo, then simply succumb to that grind as the song slides it way out. 'House of D', slows it all down with an impeccably placed blues acoustic shimmering and shinnying through the song. It is a seductive pleaser that works it way into you, with flashes of harmonica and shuffling beats. There is a sublime looseness that recalls early Beck, or JSBX's Russell Simin's great lost solo album, 'Public Places'. It ends on another perfect line of  "when you spend the second night in the cell you know it's for real". Before you realise, you are in the depths of the album and it still keeps giving. With a surf-style guitar, 'Long Long Way' is the fullest-sounding song so far. As it rolls out it steps up from what may be a little generic to a rocktastic tune. Then the stomping is back like the Brudders flailing around CBGB's. 'Strychnine' is a peacock of a song. Strutting, sweaty, bloody, cum-stained, wrapped in a Stooge-ian hit of punk and roll. Then a Godzilla-sized groove is unleashed in 'Cutout'. It goes all the way up past 11 into outta-stellar gonzoid head-rush space.

We then come down in a green smoke-filled, White Room, haze with 'Sunshine'. This is one to close your eyes to and let it envelope you in a kaleidoscopic wash of lysergic wonder. Now we are back to flesh with the prowler that is 'Mr Hunter'. It will have you towering over other men, women falling at your feet as you swagger down the sidewalk in your Nudie Suit as the sun glistens off your sideburns and immaculate quiff. If you could bottle 'Mr Hunter''s essence you'd make gazillions, for one spray and any man, and I mean ANY man, will be able to get laid. By supermodels. And their sisters… And we are nearing the end of this riot of lasciviousness. This soundtrack to the best weekend of your life, with a double-header lead by 'Abilene'. Yet fear not, we are going out supernova powered. Howlin' voices, howlin' guitar, possibly howlin' drums. 'Abilene' is one smooth, sucker-punching momma. Lastly, 'Take A Number' has us straddling a nitrous-fuelled monster and piling down the black top to join Josh Homme in one of the peyote-fired desert sessions. Sack Lunch, well it ain't a great title to an album, but frankly that is the only thing that it can be faulted on. You wanna a whiskey-fuelled, funkin’, freakin’, fuckin’, ride? Then get on this.

Slim Wray's website

Buy the album

Catch them live:

Sat, Sep 28, Stella Blues, New Haven, CT, US
Tues, Oct 8, The Grand Victory, Brooklyn, NY, US
Wed, Oct 16, The Bowery Electric, New York, NY, US
Thurs, Oct 17, The Rock Shop, Brooklyn, New York
Sat, Oct 19, Connie's Ric Rac, Philadelphia, PA, US
Mon, Oct 21, Kung Fu Necktie, Philadelphia, PA, US
Thurs, Nov 21, The Bowery Electric, New York, NY, US

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