Cheater Slicks Reality is a Grape (Columbus Discount)
That the Cheater Slicks will forever be known as the most innovative band to emerge from the paint-by-numbers 90’s Garage Punk scene will always be a mixed blessing. While they have outlasted all their contemporaries who got more accolades than them at the time (or so I hear, I wasn’t around, ya know?) and incorporated far more interesting strains of nearly all good straight Rock, it is also kinda like bragging how your toddler was the first to learn how to tie his shoes in Kindergarten. Perhaps its better to think of them as simply (and possibly the last great?) a Rock band who accepted and celebrated its own limitations, while continually throwing rocks at the glass house it called home. Here they return to the formula of their previous two studio albums (excluding ‘09’s Bats in the Dead Trees, which is more or less live improv., and not particularly good either), a combination of revved-up Hatch-penned uppers ‘n’ downers, with Tom Shannon’s song writing approximating a stroll through a patch of dead flowers, melancholic but beautiful at times. Yer Last Record and Walk into the Sea were definite highlights in their catalog, and really felt like a continuation on a very slowly-progressing theme. With this I have to say it feels like the almighty Slicks are treading water a bit, but goddamn if the songs aren’t there! Stylistically the opening title cut may not be all that different from the lead off of WitS's “My Position on Nothingness”, but the ridiculously echoed vocals that sound like they got left on the cutting room floor of Ventures in Space place it in a distinct position among the Slicks well-worn cannon. Plus, I’m pretty sure the song’s about trippin’ which will never not be good fodder for music. Yeah, there’s some lack luster shit, but the high’s are high. “Jesus Christ” brings to mind VU in the closet-and not just ‘cos of similar song titles-and “Hold Onto Your Soul” is among the most memorable songs these cynical old bastards ever waxed. Perhaps not the most exciting record I’ve heard all year, but undoubtedly one of the solidest.