Disc Review of Defection by Slow Burning Car from SignaturesInTime.com

Posted 28 Dec 2017 in News, Reviews

Signatures In Time Friday, December 22, 2017
Slow Burning Car – Defection (2017) Written By Frank McClure

On album #4 Defection, Slow Burning Car prove that they are an awesome, original lost 90s artifact that would have been at home touring with Handsome, Failure and Self-Titled era Foo Fighters had they been around during that musical heyday. This record is 10 quality tracks with nary any filler and some well-composed forays into differing hard rock grooves. Slow Burning Car is game for artful experimentation and they don’t stay fenced in by genre or stylistic limitation.
Full of thundering drums, power-chord heavy riffs and dirty distortion, “Alpha Duplicor” kicks the album off with a bang. Multi-tracked vocal harmonies maintain a very lively, catchy presence as the guitars go from hard-rock abandon to heavy metal soloing to double-team riffage (played to the bloody raw bone by dueling lead/rhythm guitarists Jesse Damon and Tommy Marcel). There’s no shortage of groove to be found and this focus on thundercrack riffs will be sure to please fans of the early Foos, Handsome and even Quicksand. “Soul Crimes” shifts the band’s shaggy hard rock snarl into a sing-a-long, anthem-ready pop punk swagger without sacrificing any of the edgy guitar work heard on the opener. It’s an overload of smash n’ crash guitars, dense dual riffs, pounding rhythms and propulsive bass lines boiled down to the bare bones and most simplistic permutations (in terms of hard-rock songwriting tactics). Highly melodic vocals with stellar choruses and sly harmony vocals ensure this song will stick like glue to your eardrums, warranting repeat plays by the bushel.
“The Orb” is a showcase for 8-armed drummer Adam Idell’s shuffling, snare-fill centered backbeats. Stop/start guitar riffs allow the rhythm section step to the forefront as bassist/vocalist Troy Spiropoulos’ low-end shares equal production presence with the twin guitar surgery. Greasy, staccato vocals almost draw some rap influence (think Beastie Boys/early Red Hot Chili Peppers) during the verses but go for total soaring melody in the chorus as the instrumental twists follow suit into pop punk glory. “Devil in the Room” embellishes the pop of “The Orb,” drifting in on a classic, punk rock drum n’ bass groove before throwing down on killer, heavy twin riffs and shredding rock n’ roll lead-work.
Reaching the midway point, the album starts taking further stylistic liberties from “The Sunday Derby” onward. “The Sunday Derby” places grinding, jazz-leaned bass grooves as the focal point with busy drumbeats concocting multiple rhythms to follow while dazzling tom-tom fills and double-bass kick patterns are kept in check by a chopping snare beat. Trippy guitar swirls build into straight-up riffs much later on as the vocals snake in and out of distortion masking.
The swinging “You Can’t Stay Here” is the last purebred punk rock track on the album with the acoustic duo of “Bedtime” and “Chrysanthemum” offering up a pair of sturdy ballads that don’t sound like anything else on the record. “Polar Warden” goes one step further by washing a brooding post-punk jam in 60s psychedelic waters, leaving closer “Clouds” to delve into the kind of epic album ender that sounds like a streamlined version of Tool. It’s the closest comparison one can make to the type of song that it is but in reality other than “Clouds’” eagle-eye knack for powerhouse riffs and climaxing drums, the song doesn’t really sound like Tool at all. Pound for pound, Defection is a masterpiece of modern hard-rock that often makes multiple stylistic swaps during the course of one song. It’s a compositional triumph that will keep listeners guessing in a good way at every single turn; highly recommended.

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