Down and dirty with seventies rock is something that a number of bands are trying to do nowadays. Some bands, like The Strokes and Kings of Leon, fail miserably and have to have major label pushes to save any amount of face, while bands like Slowride incorporate rock with bubbly three-chord punk and are overlooked by popular media. Maintaining this balance is hard to do, but D.H. as well as the rest of the band does it in a way that belies the fact that they’ve only been around for five years. There is a current running through Building a Building that inexorably ties each and every track on the disc. Whether or not it is due to the high interconnectedness of the songs, I have no clue, but the disc is an entity – more than its constituent parts. “Sacrifice V. Apathy” raises the spectre of the Counting Crows’ “Long December” in tempo and aural effect, while “Panther 2” has D.H. reach the most gritty register of eir’s voice, sounding like Marilyn Mason for a brief moment.
Why did I bring up both the Counting Crows and Marilyn Manson in a review with an all-out rocking act like Slowride? Simply put, Slowride is an act that individuals from all brands of musical definition will find catchy and hard-riding, as well as Slowride having a polished sound that would be equally at home at any CMJ showcase as well as MTV. Running at a slightly faster tempo than most Deep Elm releases, Slowride brings the same commitment to excellence that is the hallmark for any band on the label, making twelve iterations of the same formulaic rock track seem as completely different compositions even when stacked back to back.
Beginning the disc off to a strummy sing-a-long track in “Solitary Man”, Slowride immediately follows the hook-laden track with “Smoke Cigarettes”, as much of a shock to the listeners as Hedwig and the Angry Inch’s transition into “Angry Inch”. The bouncy beat of “Solitary Man” is followed up by a heads-down all-out Foo Fighters-style rock fest in “Smoke Cigarettes”. One problem that arises during the disc is that there is a certain lack of soul in the drum beats, not really providing much to the overall sound of the band aside from the fill role traditionally ascribed to the drummer.
Rating : 6.4/10
Top Tracks : Solitary Man, Panther 2
Slowride – Building a Building / 2003 Deep Elm Records / 12 Tracks / http://www.slowride.net / http://www.deepelm.com / Released : 06 October 2003 / Reviewed : 18 October 2003 /