Slates - Slates [12-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Slates [12-inch] (2009)


Slates' self-titled 12" begins with a playful little riff and fill, and then busts into a heavily jangled, awesome, somewhat raw alternative pop-rock song right out of the '90s. The hook is instantly memorable, and the track chugs along with a strained melody somewhere between Dinosaur Jr. and whenever Seaweed sound happy.

By the third track, a new comparison has emerged: the Riot Before. Raspy vocals and a quasi folk punk vibe has invaded the scene, and it adds a new flavor to Slates. It's more than likely a coincidence, but either way, it works, although Slates admittedly have much more restraint in their approach.

There's generally a feel-good vibe running through the album, and it continues with early cuts like "Best Scars" and even the more sneering "Vacant Lot". While the album fills out pretty well at 14 tracks and nearly 39 minutes, it still feels rather breezy, and in the second half, things get pleasantly weird every so often. "Coffin Ships" is moved along with a certain taut energy, while "One U Want" opens with a surprisingly noisy dirge, just for the hell of it.

This is a cool album with vague shades of originality and similarities spanning the board.