The crunchy guitars of “Mouth Like A Shogun” seem more fitted for Lightning Bolt or The Locust than The Slats, and they make a miracle in incorporating a laid back Devo/Bob Marley-style of vocals that bob on top of the guitar fuzz. Completely switching gears for the follow-up track, “TEENA” comes back to the Weezer/60s pop wellspring that The Slats find themselves continually drawing from. “TEENA” is benefited by the dynamic that the silky vocals have with the highly-distorted guitar laid down on the track. In the same way that Darlington and The Lillingtons are catchy in their flawless combination of The Ramones and those earlier pop-rock bands (and Buddy Holly) that the Ramones were influenced by, The Slats push together the Ramones, earlier music, and some of the shoegazer pseudo-emo that was famous in the early nineties.
The CD is above-average, in that the only impediments to complete cohesion are those aforementioned instrumental tracks, but even an off-beat track like “Hello Operator” can gain converts to its screeching guitar lines and constant repetition. I must say, in the same of time between the Iowahardcore.com(pilation) and this album, The Slats have really matured their sound, and seem ready for the big town. Their music will never be dated, as it is all based on tried-and-true musical powerhouses instead of indie flavors of the week, and their style of music would fit as well during the Smoking Popes as during Weezer, The Hives, or Modest Mouse.
Top Track: The War I Survived, Teena