Perhaps the reason that I appreciate Slang‘s ability to wander across sound and style, jump genres and break down musical demarcations comes from the fact that I grew up in a very musically tribal world. In my formative days, you were either one thing or another, a rocker, a goth, an indie kid, a pop-picker, a prog head, soulboy, metaller or dance devotee…and never the twain shall meet. Like all of Slang’s output, Thrive neatly runs roughshod over such narrow visions and tribal devotions. Although I suspect this says much more about his musical mindset than the changing times.
Thrive is a fantastic collection of instrumental tunes that wander at will through the realms of melodic rock, funky blues, pop-rock infectiousness, clever, prog-leaning infusions, ambient grace and delicious groove, often within the same song.
Lead single, Vibra, is a strutting and slightly strident blend of melodic rock and a more drifting and soulful west coast vibe, but as always with the best composers, and indeed, with Slang, you can’t judge an album by one single alone. And by the time you have played the album, you will have covered a lot of ground.
Moving Mountains is a cool, calm and collected piece of melodic rock and at the other extreme is Kaleidoscope Sky, a tune that seems built of gentle swirls and spirals of sound that gathers momentum as it goes along. Jelly Bean is bluesy yet polished with a slightly jazz-orientated ornateness, and Bounce is as buoyant and engaging as any dance tune you could care to mention.
As always, he has gathered the great and good of the music world around himself to record the tracks. Jun Abe is found scintillating synth, Misaki is responsible for the vocal sounds-as-instruments that grace many of the numbers, sax comes courtesy of Tony Spruill, and KoNa is on bass duties. Everything else you here is the man himself.
Adventurous, exploratory, intoxicating and fun. What more could you ask for, and what else did you expect?