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Avant Garde

Playin’ In Time…
With the Deadbeat

Review source Mishka Blogin
Written by Wholemilk

I find the title of Slug Guts new album immensely fitting, not so much because of the various images it conjures (death, laziness, burning out, a ramshackle band, etc.) but because it is in itself a joke, a play on words. It sounds serious at first but is really not. Cannibalizing the grim grimoire of sounds established by nihil-philic Australian rock bands of the late 70s and 80s, Slug Guts take that drunken, depressed, yowling mood and take it to alternately awkward and enjoyable extremes. Governments have long used loud music as a form of torture, but Slug Guts sound like they’re imparting a whole lot of harm on themselves.

From the opening track, called “Scum” (of course), onward lyrics are obscured by a anguished wail that must require two hands grasped firmly to the mic. Only certain words make it through: alley, dirty, blood. You can probably parse the mood from there. None of it is dirge like, but instead celebratory in a very dark way. I’m just gonna say it – Slug Guts listened to a lot of Birthday Party growing up. But as you move further into Playin’ In Time With the Deadbeat, the music sounds less and less imitative, and more parodical. Believe it or not, that’s meant as a compliment. While the mid-point title track takes a weird turn into Nekromantix-ville (I know. I know.), it’s surrounded by a group of real winners.

Starting with the hilariously intense “Black Sports” (which… great title or horrible title?) gets faster and faster like a runaway train full of moonshine and baby munching dingoes. “Glory Holes” isn’t even particularly loud (comparatively) but the vocals are so twisted it sounds like singer Jimi Kritzler trying to fight his way out of a padded room of feedback. Playin’ In Time With the Deadbeat is a deceptively fun album, and a deceptively funny one. Just the kind of humor where you realize the kickass song you’re listening to (complete with out-of-nowhere arena rock guitar solo) is called “Stranglin’ You Too” and it makes you like it just that much more

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