Slumlord Radio has given their latest release the subtle moniker: Tokyo Roadhouse Sex Castle. Of course in the real Tokyo, roadhouse sex castles are ten-a-penny. Nevertheless, the title is still not half as bombastic and in-your-face as the sounds currently blasting out of the 20ft speakers here in Sound and Motion HQ.
This is an EP that needs turning up to eleven. From the first gut wrenching riff of opening track ‘Fort Knox’ to the dark, sinister chuckles heard at the very end of final track; ‘Sonic Sex Castle’ the EP is a jet-powered rocket mission from the Grand Rapids, USA all the way to your soaking wet ear-pussies. (Can I say that?).
Ok, so lets break it down a little bit. For those of you unable to get on to some form of internet based listening zone I’ll try and explain what I’m experiencing here. It’s a little early Foo’s mixed with a bit of Kyuss, Metallica, QOTSA with a dollup of old school Mudhoney-esque grunginess to add the icing on this all rock and roll cake of death. It may be because I spent my younger years listening to nothing but hard rock bands like this, but it takes me back to a distant time. A time when drinking was the only worthwhile pastime, hangovers were almost non-existent and I could throw myself happily into a mosh pit without aching all over the next morning.
The first thing you hear when entering the Sex Castle; ‘Fort Knox’, is an unrelenting riff-laden chugger of an opening track. Considering he’s also playing guitar Tommy Erickson does a superb job of wrenching his vocal chords around this dirty little number. The double time tempo change halfway through is superb. It gives drummer David Flynn a chance to show off a little and the way it slows down and back into the chorus is the perfect breathing space to wipe the sweat off your brow before you dive back into the mob of metlaheaded moshers.
‘Call Me Chief Tonight’, is a pounding track, less riffs, but more energy (I didn’t think it would be possible) than the previous track. Holding off only briefly for the guitar to soar over the groove with well-crafted feedback before tearing away again into a blistering solo.
Track three, mid-record and the name of the game here is keeping it fresh. It’s by no means a genre that breeds’ diversity, hard rock is all about the chugging guitars and thrashing drums right? Wrong! It’s about the one track on the album that breaks from the tradition. For Slumlord Radio, it’s this one. OK, so the chorus is just as epic as the rest of the record but it opens with a bluesy, clean guitar line and there’s almost a whole minute with nothing to bang your head along to! A huge halftime bridge fixes all that though, don’t worry.
‘Secondhand Tank’ is track four, and my favourite title, and possible my favourite song on the record. There’s something unmistakably Nirvana infused about this. It’s as dirty as your Sunday roast dishes. ‘Nuff said.
The final tune, named ‘Sonic Sex Castle’. Is pretty much more of the same. I might have opted for another slightly different take on the style. It does the job though. My head is still nodding back and forth and genuinely I think I may have blown our speakers. It’s what this sort of music was made for. Slumlord Radio are loud and proud. If you think you are too, check them out! It’s good to see that there’s still epic rock being made in the US without the help of Mr Dave Grohl.