Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Slang Chickens - Slang Chickens

Slang Chickens have been churning out a steady stream of live performances around Los Angeles since forming a couple of years ago; the tracklisting that’s finally been pressed onto a self-released record is essentially the setlist that’s been helping them build an audience since 2008, and to some extent this works against the band’s favor. The live energy of the band, an amplified version of their cowpunk, electric blues and local rock blend, does not translate as well as hoped on these studio recordings, the production too clean comparatively, and Evan Weiss’ vocals only emphasized as some awkwardly slick yet nasal version of JP Hasson (former Pleaseeasaur).

“Club Love” has a good rhythm to it that’s cheapened a bit with too much electric fuzz; “Let’s Microwave” – though an apparent live favorite – is filler, raucous for the sake of being so but lacking a case for the idea that a song can be great despite mediocre lyrics, and “Blues (Dripping Down My Leg)” is a heavy blues track that breaks down unexpectedly into a Latin bridge and then bounces back.

“Parasited Out” is a quickly paced pop song that sounds rather reminiscent of the Soft Pack (who, perhaps coincidentally, have a song called “Parasite”), and yes, the likeness has been suggested elsewhere. No two songs here are alike, and while there is no confusion of identity, the record is not consistently rough as with their live presence. They get tons of Gun Club references, but what they don't have is a leader with frantic energy, wailing as though his life depended on it (though, hell, anyone looks overly stylized next to Jeffrey Lee Pierce). But everything about this band is so damn likeable, and they could certainly make an excellent case for a live record. Step two.

Slang Chickens - Tropics
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