Singapore Sling - Life Is Killing My Rock 'N' Roll (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Singapore Sling

Life Is Killing My Rock 'N' Roll (2004)


What happens when you record an album in a perpetual night? Singapore Sling, from Iceland, recorded their second album in its capital of Reykjavik during the winter and spring of 2004, a time of year where the country is shrouded in darkness around the clock for lots of the time. And while to most of us here in the states, it would make us go insane and perhaps record either some lost Zappa album or the most depressing album ever, I guess people that live there have to get used the darkness coming year after year. So Singapore Sling (named after an alcoholic mixed drink, Google it for the recipe) instead produced an album full of throwback rock and roll based on the sludgy style and attitude of the Stooges, but owing just as much to `80s alternative noise-pop.

A layer of guitar fuzz coats the album, with primitive booming drum beats and muddied vocals hiding underneath. On the title track, Henrik Bjornsson's speak-sing vocals (in English, never Icelandic) evoke Lou Reed's style, and while one acoustic guitar provides the progression, the other is wailing on feedback that sounds like a motorcycle going by. Other tracks like "Living Dead" have a similar effect within, where the band grooves along while a wall of noise tears through it all. Moog synthesizer also contributes to the noise factor; in "Guiding Light" it swooshes and oscillates amid the chaos of a one-note guitar part karate-chop and, of course, ample feedback.

There are a lot of the slower tunes here which give off a huge My Bloody Valentine vibe, like on "Sunday Club" or "Nightlife." Female guest vocals on "J.D." enhance this vibe even more. I'm feeling Yo La Tengo on "Sugar," one of the sweetest tracks (pun intended), but the poppy melody doesn't mean they let up on the racket in the background. Faster tracks like "Rockit" throw down that Stooges influence they claim, and when Bjornsson lazily snarls "we don't care" you'd think it was Iggy if you didn't know better.

My favorite kinds of bands these days are ones that blend or alternate from noisy and dissonant to melodic and catchy -- Velvet Underground, the Pixies and Dinosaur Jr. for example. Singapore Sling is not so much catchy, but they do have the rest of those elements. And while they certainly don't top the aforementioned bands, they are going in the right direction. They have put out an EP, Taste the Blood of Singapore Sling, since this one but currently it is only available in Iceland, so who knows the next we'll hear of them around here.