Inverclyde five piece soar through the highs and lows of adolescence and young adulthood in passionate new EP, ‘Jingle Jangle’
The act of writing reviews is a process that is admittedly new to me. I have found it interesting, this search for words that express exactly why I like or dislike a particular piece of music. Despite the fun of this new found exercise, there is an uninvited elephant in the room and it’s name is prejudice. It is a well known secret that every reviewer has their own inclinations and aversions towards particular styles of music, based on their own arbitrary sense of personal taste. However, if this is so universally recognised then why does it feel so wrong to criticise?
I guess you don’t want to stamp on anybody’s hard work but I’m not sure if that nicety quite warrents dishonesty. One of my many prejudices is when I hear that style of indie music that falls between the lines of very Johnny Marr-like chord embellishments, paired with noodling guitar lines. Every time I hear anything close to resembling this, I feel a sigh coming on along with a, ‘I’ve heard this before’, attitude. As entrenched as this dislike may be, I find SLIX to be an exhilarating exception to this rule.
SLIX are a band I first experienced live, stirring a reaction in the crowd that signalled that this was more than your average pallet cleanser support act. Singles like; ‘Waster’ and ‘Mindless’, validated this belief, seething with energy and bravado reminiscent of Heavy Rapids or The Dunts. The best way I could describe their sound is that it’s the musical equivalent of watching the sun come up after a massive session with your pals, that special mix of happiness, colliding with the dread of another day, when you have to pay for the weekends recklessness.
Opening track ‘Maga’ encapsulates all of this. Sunburst guitar lines linger over a rhythm that’s guaranteed to get your head moving. The tune largely laments on how things quickly fall out of hand on a lads holiday with playful mockery and stunning accuracy. Robbie Peden as a vocalist and as a (I’m assuming) lyricist is a large part of what makes this band stand out.
There is a very, ‘matter of fact’ quality to the lyrics. Words drip from personal experience rather than fall loosely from false lips. The five piece paint a picture of Scottish adolescence that is less sombre than Arab Strap but more boisterous than Declan Welsh. Peden offers his own version of events, proving SLIX to be guitar-armed observationalists in their own right and not some lost indie souls, trying to desperately recapture the magic of Arctic Monkeys debut LP. Also, his voice is class.
‘Blank Canvas’, exudes a certain charm that I can’t quite put my finger on. Meditating on indecision and lack of initiative in taking control of your life, the band seem genuinely lost rather than totally self-pitying. One complaint I do have of this EP, is that I think it’s missing a song as unleashed and punky as say, previous single ‘Mindless’. Still, an EP is rarely a bands best work and instead, more a testimony on what’s to come and believe me, one thing this band is not lacking in, is range.
‘Harvey’s song’, penned by the band’s guitarist Harvey Todd, picks up the pace with funk inspired guitar riffs and an almost hop-hop like vocal delivery, showcasing the bands ever-expanding musical scope, leading onto the defiant, ‘Current Affairs’ which closes the EP with the snarling declaration, “I swear I’m only tired and I’m perfectly fine“. If the group’s penchant for writing empty beer can ridden anthems is anything to go by, then this closing statement can only imply that everything is anything but, “fine“. However, as sadistic as it may sound, with a band as nut and bolt tight, honest and exciting as this one, I’m glad to hear it!
Have a listen for yourself below: