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
Sub Rosa – Slings & Arrows / Self / 10 Tracks / http://www.subrosa.us.com /