Taking the dirty out of their previous impressive EP Tokyo Roadhouse Sonic Sex Castle, US punk ‘n’ rollers Slumlord Radio have caked it in further grime and scuzzy glazes for the new and equally compelling release No Trick Pony. The five track EP sees the Grand Rapids/Flint based band turn to the grimier side of their invention to unleash another brawling confrontation to incite senses and passions. Its sound twists and squalls with an antagonistic might which takes no prisoners and has no concerns with making friends, preferring to eyeball the imagination whilst brewing up a thick moonshine of sonic rewards.
Slumlord Radio was formed in 2010 and wasted no time in stirring up attention locally with their fiery mix of punk, heavy rock, and garage punk. Rich essences of sludge and hardcore also add their toxins to the uncompromising sound which sparked acclaim within 2012 debut release The Cats Pajamas EP. The following year saw Tokyo Roadhouse Sonic Sex Castle ignite another flood of attention and praise upon the band which No Trick Pony should only add to with its raw and raucous charm. The new EP like its predecessor does not break into new realms but similarly uncages a thrilling cluster of passionate and inventive endeavour which leaves the appetite greedy for much more. The trio of vocalist/guitarist Tommy Erickson, bassist Mike Todd, and drummer David Flynn, who has been left the band since the recording with Matt Claucherty replacing him to beat guitars laying down the living daylights out of rhythms, prey on the senses whilst treating them to aural riots which are not always an instant temptation but persistently end up a proposition eagerly devoured.
Devil You Know starts things off, opening up its presence with an early temptation complete with southern twang and expressive tone. The bass takes little time to join the coaxing before a vocal squall announces an expulsion of energy into a confident swagger which instantly recruits attention and appetite. With the coarse notes of Erickson similarly riling the air alongside the sounds, the track has an air of Joecephus and the George Jonestown Massacre to its country punk breath though one integrated in a dusty cloud of predatory rock ‘n’ roll. The track continues to prowl and stalk the senses, feeding it grooves and hooks as infectious bait whilst stirring up a dust storm with discord kissed and scuzz glazed voracity. It is a tremendous start to the EP which as mentioned earlier pushes the trio’s sound into its darkest dirtiest depths yet for thrilling results.
The following Scuzz delivers what you expect with its title but much more besides, it’s initial melodic enticement almost folk like in its touch and soon entwined in another punk bred canter of flailing rhythms and caustic riffs. It does come with restraint though which takes a firmer grip as the song dips into a magnetic stroll to flirt with the imagination. It is not allowed to play for long though as the fire in the belly of the track explodes into an abrasive and anthemic chorus before the mesmeric cycle begins again. The song was one which took a little longer than others to permeate emotions such its evolving intent, but with its masterful grooves and blazing aggressive energy, even in the quieter moments, and the stoner-esque twists which colour the outstanding imaginative encounter it emerged as the most potent and exciting proposition on the release.
Keeping the release on irresistible flight White Owls and Cheap Champagne comes in next with riffs and hooks blazing whilst rhythms beat their suasion with poise and skill. There is a weight to the track which smacks of a Sabbath-esque seeding whilst the corrosive air and vocal riling reminds of Social Distortion at times as the song proceeds to stomp, stalk, and incite the senses. Dirty insatiable rock ‘n’ roll at its most hellacious, the track provides another flavoursome antagonist to the release and spark for the passions even if against the previous triumphs it lies just behind.
The virulently contagious Riverboat Gambler stands toe to toe with ears next, the song another which enters on an epidemic of riffs and acidic grooves which seduce a submission within seconds before relaxing to expand its heart and narrative. The haze to the vocals and the resonating bass tempting grabs attention first whilst the guitars weave a distorted surface to their grooves and designs in a delicious merger of garage rock and grunge which is quietly ingenious. The track continues to seduce, employing a sixties punk spice to the agitated invention to stand side by side with Scuzz as the pinnacle of the release.
No Trick Pony closes with Freelance Viking, a vigorously captivating tapestry of sonic and scuzz lined intrigue. Easily the coarsest and rawest song on the encounter vocally and musically, it takes the longest time to convince though there is an addictive lure working away within the murky sound which ensures you go nowhere whilst it is offering its declaration. With a temptress of a sonically spawned melody and the scintillating bass sound courting its core, the track makes for an engrossing conclusion especially with the ferocious outburst of punk rock fury which comes in right at the very end.
Slumlord Radio continue to impress and stir up the passions as proven by the tremendous No Trick Pony; they are not for part time punk and dirt rockers but for those with a real passion for sonic bruises a prime joy on a steady and potent rise.
No Trick Pony is available now as a buy now name your price option at slumlordradio.bandcamp.com
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