SORRY marks The Slums’ first LP release since their inception, and as the band themselves suggested, please blare it from your speakers. This heavyhearted giant is here to apologize for something, or is maybe just stuck in a desperate, depressing downward spiral. Regardless, brutalizing your instruments, screaming your sorrows, and creating nasty, anger-driven material is one way to either get things out of your system or get who/what is causing you pain away from you. Like really far away from you. The Slums have blessed us with a relatable hard rock album, taking pages from Brand New’s and Kevin Devine & The Goddamn Band’s books.
“Gospel Part I” is the first song on this black album. The LP opener bursts into livelihood after a quiet, overdriven guitar riff. My initial thought when hearing this track was, “… it sounds broken.” That idea was immediately backed by the lyrics, “I’m punctured and useless.” Overall, the message of “Gospel Part I” is to stay closed; don’t let anyone hurt you any more. The following track, “Black Lung,” utilizes the grotesque imagery of a mouth with cigarette-stained teeth licking the main character clean – as if that would do anything, right? Smart instrumental pauses help this song tell a story of tainted love, and how a man became what he hated.
Song number 3, “Blue Suits,” kicks off with an 80s chorus-effected guitar lead. The song is the cleanest yet. It has less grime stuck to it than others. “Blue Suits” plays as a rock waltz, and sometimes feels drunken and self-deprecating. Even the Almighty God is struck in this blue song when the singer hollers of his loss of faith. The Sleater-Kinney-like “Purple Heart” is fronted by a very dirty bass riff and deep floor tom. The song is discordant, but still very cool and has powerful drums. The sound recording leaves you tossing and turning, lost on the battlefield. “Intermission” is exactly what it sounds like, a pretty, lonely, reverbed guitar interlude that speaks volumes. Even the plinks sound nice, yet are forsaken and painful.
Song 6 is “David,” a composition in which you can hear slight hard rock connections to Mudhoney. As per usual, the band writes consistently empathetic, heavy-hearted material. This song, in particular, revolves around denial and incessant questioning. “David” sports a riveting guitar solo toward the end before digressing into a stop-and-go rhythmic pulse. The final track, “Wait,” starts on a relaxed note, as if the band has finally tamed the beast they often let stampede from their amplifiers and drum set. A few minutes in, and I already have to rescind my prior comment – The Slums violently reintroduce their true, distorted persona. As the song shreds itself into its final breaths, the listener is left questioning, “Am I waiting for you? Or [is it] the other way around?” The Slums pleads to meet them halfway.
With that being said, SORRY is kindly offered for free by this literal hell of a band. This release is one not worth missing, and comes from Buffalo to boot. Check out the release below.