Disc Review of Defection from Slow Burning Car by Musicoftheworld.blogspot.com

Posted 27 Dec 2017 in News, Reviews

Written by Laura Dodero, posted by blog admin

Hailing from Los Angeles, CA; Slow Burning Car are a quirky quartet that mesh various different hard rock influences into an album that delivers an experience that’s best heard as an uninterrupted whole. The band’s fourth disc Defection may start off textbook enough with “Alpha Duplicor’s” teeth-gnashing, hard rock guitar riffs, angst-ridden yet melodic vocals and throbbing percussion that’s a storm of snare/tom fill transitions but Slow Burning Car switches style on a dime and never lingers on the same musical turf for too long.

A smorgasbord of sound awaits the listener at Defection’s every corner turn. Whirling dervish guitar leads, crisp punk riffing, steadfast drumming and smooth vocal melodies/harmonies are “Soul Crimes’” bread n’ butter from the first note to the last. They toy with this basic format and deviate it on every inch of “The Orb,” where vocoder vocal harmonies congeal in perfect unison with bassist/lead vocalist Troy Spiropoulos’ stark, bull-rushing raps in the verses spilling over into excellent lead melodies in the choruses. All throughout Adam Idell’s fast hands and drumming dexterity put him in line with John Stanier’s visionary work in every project he’s helmed from Helmet to Battles. Guitarists Jesse Damon and Tommy Marcel provide thorough engagement throughout by molding pedal noise into melodic textures, locking onto dense rhythm riffs and building incendiary punk rock leads up into towering, 80s metal styled solos.

There’s a deep love for all things punk on defection and sometimes instead of adding their unique flourishes to the beloved genre, they just go for verse/chorus, energetically riffed nods to tradition on hook-laden tracks like “Devil in the Room” and “You Can’t Stay Here.” It’s unusual how these guys can go from such simple, ear-pleasing takes on punk then completely shake-up their songwriting attributes on a head-swimming, singer/songwriter acoustic number like “Bedtime.” Backing keyboards add delectable layers to this track while Troy’s vocals range from melodic croons to bleary-eyed spoken word as the guitar unfold one melodic lick after another. Further weirdness ensues on a track like “The Sunday Derby” which shimmers and shakes in-tune with Guzzard’s pop-punk coated, blistering 90s noise-rock; angular, off-time bass grooves collide into squealy swipes of twitchy guitar-work and free-form vocals for a sonic wallop that’s very much like the skronk-y, candy-coated atonal rock of the aforementioned Guzzard.

“Chrysanthemum” is another brushstroke of mesmerizing acoustic guitars and deeper, scratchy vocal melodies. The arrangements and textures are darker than “Bedtime,” though the melodic penchant is firmly attack. Light percussion accoutrements, menacing double-tracked whispers, multi-tracked acoustic guitars and melancholy synths further the creepier atmosphere of this stripped-down piece. “Polar Warden” takes this blueprint and flips it by emphasizing the bass in a mellow, psychedelic jam that’s full of acerbic guitar noise, synth-drones, feedback and other scraping textures. The record culminates with “Clouds’” rolling, tribal tom heavy backbeats and summit ascending guitar sweeps that erupt into sonic might as the ebbing 6-string textures erode into mountainous, 70s soaked hard-rock riffs. There are some sampled horns and unusual guitar interplay throughout this number that reminds me of Queens of the Stone Age’s Self-Titled debut or even Torche’s heady, pop metal combo. Vocally, this tune features some of Troy’s best work with solar-charged melodies that ascend to lofty heights.

Defection is the surprise of the year from a veteran band that just keeps getting better and better. It’s hard-hitting and powerful but never forsakes melody for total brute force. With no limits on the songwriting ethic, the results are boundless and you’ll find that the tracks never get boring and constantly have you reaching for the repeat button.
https://musicoftheworld.blogspot.com Dec. 22, 2017

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