Written by Pamela Bellmore, posted by blog admin
No one can accuse Slow Burning Car of predictability. Their avowed influences like Queens of the Stone Age and Foo Fighters promise guitar histrionics galore, but they also embrace psych pop pioneers Love and German art rockers Can and you discern those strains running through Slow Burning Car’s lyrical and musical approach. They bring these seemingly disparate elements together with a coherence and seamlessness that’s bracing to listen to. The ten songs included on their fourth studio release, Defection, never opt for well traveled roads – even traditionally slanted passages are, invariably, spiked with some sense of surprise that sends them off into new trajectories. It’s deeply gratifying to hear a band working with such a level of inspiration four albums into their career – Slow Burning Car are still growing, still searching, and each new release clearly brings them ever closer to the peak of their expanding powers.
It gets off to a great start with the mid tempo riffer “Alpha Duplicor” and the rhythm section of bassist/vocalist Troy Spiropoulos and drummer Adam Idell lay down a monumental foundation for the band’s two guitar attack to fire salvos over. The band’s musical and lyrical approach, alike, never panders to the lowest common denominators and provides entertaining, yet intelligent, artistic experiences for listeners. The second song “Soul Crimes” will justifiably garner a lot of notice as one of the album’s most energetic rockers and it definitely works as an example of the band’s sound at its most unified and outright aggressive. Spiropoulos really excels here with a varied singing performance. The punky stomp driving “Devil in the Room” doesn’t mince much musically and, despite its jagged attitude, has a remarkably clean and commercial sound sacrificing zero credibility along the way. Spiropoulos gives listeners an appropriately cawing, defiant vocal that fits the song to a T.
The palpable swagger and swing Spiropoulos and Idell whip up in the opening moments of “The Sunday Derby” is enough alone to sustain the song, but Slow Burning Car soon takes things a step further and their creative spin on this song is enough to dizzy even experienced music fans. “You Can’t Stay Here” is another definite nod to the band’s punk inspirations with its lean, clinched fist guitar attack and the take no prisoners feel personifying the song. “Bedtime” and “Chrysanthemum” alike are very different tunes than the preceding tracks and the band’s unabashed fluency with acoustic sounds makes them every bit as colorful, in their own respect, as the electric guitar fueled attack in the earlier tracks. They are even bold enough to toss an instrumental into the mix as the album’s nominal centerpiece tune – “Polar Warden” is both intensely musical and theatrical, yet the absence of vocals is never felt as the arrangement proves so commanding. The conclusion “Clouds” brings everything to a graceful rest while still embodying the same attitude we heard on earlier numbers. Slow Burning Car’s fourth release is definitely their most fully realized yet and we get a sense from this album that the band may be reaching another peak in their development.