Old School – Slang (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Although it is quite a cool album title, in my opinion the only thing old school about Slang is his work rate. We find ourselves in an age when album releases, especially from bigger name artists seem to be getting further and further apart. Slang’s work ethic is more akin to that of a few decades ago when labels really drove their meal tickets hard. It’s great to come across artists in the modern age with such self-discipline and drive.

Slang is usually to be found driving his guitar through a rock and roll landscape, and that is indeed the case here, but its a term used in its broadest possible sense and this, his 10th album to date, swathes those melodic rock urges in jazz, soul and funk textures.

You could say that this really is a guitarist’s album; fans of guitar driven music will find lots to love here, actual players will find lots of inspiration. It runs from funky rock and roll workouts, such as Spin The Bottle and the staccato jazzy experimentation of Confusion Corner to almost classical pieces such as the meandering and emotive Troy. Opening salvo Dynomite is bluesy rocker and Sad Clown a melancholic soundscape built from deftly selected notes and lots of space and atmosphere.

 

As always the music has two jobs to do. It needs to rock and groove and funk and boogie, which it does effortlessly, but it also has to fill the role played by the lyrical component, this being a totally instrumental album. And this is something that he is the master of. These are not just tunes that make you want to dance, tap or sway along to, they are songs which talk to the heart and the head too. And that is a very clever thing to be able to do.

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