Written by David Shouse, posted by blog admin
Slow Burning Car’s fourth studio release, Defection, is an invigorating musical ride from start to finish. They don’t simply bludgeon listeners into submission with a power chord guitar rock attack – there’s ample intelligence powering the band’s ten songs and they never confine themselves to a single musical approach. Instead, Defection crackles with the same imaginative energy enlivening the band’s previous three releases and, not unexpectedly, finds that the band continues to refine their approach thus focusing their muscle and concentration. Even the album’s comparatively muted tunes surge with raw creativity and carry listeners away from the first. Their musicianship is equally impossible to deny – they are a band whose performances and songwriting alike command the audience’s attention from the outset and bring us along on a memorable journey. Slow Burning Car’s Defection is an effective and important release in this band’s career.
It begins in a powerful, muscular fashion with the track “Alpha Duplicor”. It’s well worth remarking on the band’s talent for whipping up heavy guitars while their songs, no matter the tempo, continue to exert an across the board light touch. That point is driven further home by the album’s second song “Soul Crimes”. Slow Burning Car turns up the pace here in a big way and the guitar attack is charging even harder than before, but there’s never any sense of too much going on here and the production balances things out in an artful, yet physical, way. “The Orb” comes off as a live take and the way Adam Idell’s drumming brings us into the song reinforces that. Even if this isn’t really a hot take captured for posterity, the band deserves kudos for successfully making it feel like that. The grinding, stop-start quality of the song’s arrangement crossed with vocalist Troy Spiropoulos’ nearly hissed delivery is very notable. “Devil in the Room” is the first of the album’s definite bows to Slow Burning Car’s punk rock influences and they are every bit as artful bringing that sound into the album’s mix as they are with their other musical inclinations. “You Can’t Stay Here” is another track in that vein and has a much clearer lineage to the form while still twisting the track with the band’s own idiosyncratic songwriting touch.
“Bedtime” is the more memorable of the band’s two acoustic focused tracks while the second to last song, “Polar Warden”, is a surprising instrumental full of atmospherics and instrumentation that doesn’t appear in the earlier tracks. The album concludes with “Clouds”, another unexpected stylistic turn that reinforces the band’s willingness to throw audiences’ expectations out the window. They acquit themselves well with a variety of styles and it is to their credit as both songwriters and musicians that they never fail to sound credible. Slow Burning Car’s Defection is a well thought out, musically entertaining release full of intelligent, accessible songwriting.