Slovenly's investments over the years in a global array of garage punk have, no doubt, given them firm footing among the trash rock n' roll world and tightened the brand as a consistent flagship destination for their audience. But in all sincerity, if it weren't for the curveball releases such as groovetacular Mediterranean folk leanings of Sanlsidro or psychedelic monk chant-rock of Acid Baby Jesus, Slovenly would be another predictable rock n' roll label. Granted, redundancy helps reinforce brand perception, but the left-field releases will strengthen the notion that genuinely open-minded music fans run a music company.
Full Sun by Spitting Image is the label’s new left-field release, with the album cut in the darker vein of post-punk/hardcore and industrial, a far cry from the usual grease-laden psychedelic insubordinate fuzz punk leanings the Reno label has served up over the decades. Speaking of Reno, this is the first time the brand is releasing a hometown band. The cold, intimate production feel shows the group’s admiration of Slint’s Spiderland and 90s-era Dischord, while the range of dynamics in their songwriting shows their influences. There’s a sandwich effect in the record, with the first half showing Spitting Image’s controlled aggression on “Not This” and “Spirit Trouble Flash.” The section of the album is a slow burn, but once the first half’s tediousness breaks with “Black Box,” Full Sun starts to get interesting. “Black Box” sounds like a leftover from Ministry’s Psalm 69 sessions with its aggro-industrial driving guitar work coupled with drummer Donovan Williams, sounding like his job was outsourced to a Roland TR 909. That and “Devil’s Bloom” are the only high-energy songs present with its concentrated riff and full-tilt punk attack where for the first time throughout the record, the anxiety in vocalist Austin Pratt’s throat is absent. Once those two songs conclude, Full Sun’s sleepy side arises with the mellow and melancholic “In Menace Meadow” and, finally, the choice cut of the album, the title track. The focused and high energy expressed on “Full Sun” feels like they were saving up their chops and best expressions for last, precisely what Spitting Image does here.
Full Sun will be available via Slovenly Records on all digital providers in February 2023, with a vinyl and cassette release in Springtime. Spitting Image doesn't have a presence on Facebook, however they're active through the other Zuckerberg platform.
Album review by Eli Grisham.
Rock 'n' Roll/Automotive Journalist, Influencer, Editor and Publisher of Gearhead Magazine,
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