Label: Free News Projects
Released: November 18, 2008
Having grown up in the 80s, the current indie pop obsession with Casiotone pop is more annoying than charming. Of course, some bands pull it off and some don’t. Master Slash Slave is, overall, the former, but not without keeping at least a foot in the latter. The 80s pop-tronics of the opening track get off on the wrong foot and Scandal suffers a bit each time the band returns to those tricks. However, its quirky twists and turns and its ability to layer shallow pop with both crunchy and ambient passages makes it easy to get past the nods to the lesser qualities of the music of my own youth. The hipster snobbishness of Matt Jones’ voice finds its perfect hipper-than-thou vehicle. At his best (particularly on “Nastasya”) he manages to pull off dramatic storytelling approaching the likes of the Decemberists, but at other times he devolves into Conor Obesrt’s not-so-believable lo-fi whine. Drug references in “High Heels” are too affected to take seriously, but on the aforementioned “Nastasya” and the album’s closer, “Wouldn’t Hafta,” the lyrics have as much pull as the music. Scandal is erratic, but the annoyances are minor next to times when everything comes together. It’s not a perfect album, but in some ways it is on the right road.
The album art is pretty cool, making this a great one to pick up on vinyl.
If you’re curious about my rating categories, read the description.