"There's A Disturbing Trend"
(Fleeting Youth Records)

Grunge revivalists Slippertails are able to mimic Kurt Cobain's ability to transfer punk rock angst into Beatles pop-rock anthems and ballads. They flaunt their minimalism as a two piece with subtle tone changes, dual harmonies in four bar chord blues progressions, experimentations with drum machine metronome precision balance and fuzz,fuzz,fuzz. At times it sounds as old school as a Junior Kimbrough blues jam with a Melvins-esque drop octave, other times youthful with a Ringo Starr "Day Tripper" tempo. The cassettes' brightest moments channel Blue era Weezer with BORIS sized amplifiers and tone. This is to say there's a mopey, nerdy angst mixing with a heavy humbucker sliced-speaker baritone guitar riff.

At times the minimalism of this two piece is enough for me to stay engaged, but at times the guitar and drums feel too loud for folk rock but too ballady and intimate for punk rock. It exists in a weird rock purgatory of music trying to be both gritty and distorted but also intimate and sensitive. It particularly doesn't work when one member is screaming and the other is crooning. The combination is jarring and the setting too intimate to tolerate screaming. It needs a second layer of feedback in order for screaming to appropriately blend at the intensity of the other elements of the song. Or, you have to sound like a flaming skeleton warrior riding a gigantic dire wolf swinging a mallet.

But overall, more hits than misses on this release from Slippertails. If you are a fan of the genre, Slippertails offers some interesting takes on what is becoming a particularly significant style of rock in America culture, what the kids refer to as "the grunge".

Check it out!

--Jack Turnbull