Sub Rosa Slings & Arrows CD Review

The front cover of “Slings & Arrows” is not the most polished, but the style in which “White Flag” starts off the disc shows that there is nothing unprofessional about Sub Rosa. The style of “White Flag” is very vocal-oriented, but this is not a reason for the instrumentation to slack off. It does not slack off in the least, as the instrumentation caresses and highlights Jennifer’s vocals. This relationship goes back and forth, as during a track like “Lost You There”, Sub Rosa’s vocals bring a more serious sense of instrumentation to bear. There are not tracks on this disc that will make listeners pump their fists, but the intensity is equal to even the most hard metal act.

The intensity is tied largely into the arrangements on “Slings & Arrows”, with the arrangements being the equivalent of the most storied composers. “Citizen” is a track that employs slightly harder arrangements to paint a clearer dichotomy between the distinct styles of Sub Rosa; the band seems to elicit comparisons to acts like Sunny Day Real Estate or earlier Deep Elm acts. When the band starts to meander on the lighter side of things (as is the case with “Blue Pill”), the extents of their talent are shown. It is not merely enough to do one style well but to do all styles equally well, and the continued ability of Sub Rosa during this album to do all styles well increases their stock seriously.

None of the tracks will be what is sung over and over on radio this fall, but that does not mean the compositions on “Slings & Arrows” are without any merit. Rather, all the tracks on the disc add up to produce one intense album that is greater than the sum of their constituent parts. The disc is over forty minutes long but could reasonably go eighty; it is not that the tracks are dense but rather that the band goes everywhere on this album. “Slings & Arrows” is something that should be listened to in toto, so that the aims of Sub Rosa are shown fully. Sub Rosa is able to come up with an always-compelling album in the era of singles-oriented music. Here’s hoping that the band can create this same type of resistance throughout their life span; their continued existence shows that a band can change the dominant paradigm while still pleasing loads of listeners with their music.

Top Tracks: Ever Wonder, Citizen

Rating: 6.0/10

Sub Rosa – Slings & Arrows /  Self / 10 Tracks / /

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

One thought on “Sub Rosa Slings & Arrows CD Review”

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