Slow Power Up – Keystrings & Lockets    

7/10

If Billy Corgan and J Mascis joined Sonic Youth to form a supergroup, I imagine it would sound incredibly similar to Slow Power Up’s first full-length album KeyStrings & Lockets (released March 24th, 2018). But let’s face it, there’s probably a better chance of a Beatles reunion with all the original members.

Singer/guitarist Ravi Light sings with the same nasally, high pitched quality as Corgan that had the entire alternative 90s scene melting inside its tattered jeans and plaid shirts. “Asher & Azrael” showcases that perfectly. The song also has a noise pop vibe to it, with some insanely loud and abrasive guitar parts a la Sonic Youth. The problem with taking this approach to song composition is that it puts an extreme emphasis on having a catchy melodic core to the song and I don’t necessarily hear it on this one. I will add that it feels close, like a fantastic mixed drink that’s just missing the squeeze of lime.

Vice Versa” features a blistering solo by guitarist Aoi Ono (any relation to Yoko?) that in a traditional sense would seem out of place but ends up working well in tandem with Slow Power Up’s caustic guitar shrieks and Light’s “I’ve had a cold my entire life” vocals. It’s a concoction that Dinosaur Jr used in the 90s to garner one of the largest cult followings since L. Ron Hubbard. (The “L” was for Lafayette, I guess he wasn’t a fan of that name).

There are a few songs on Keystrings & Lockets that get lost in the shuffle. “Becoming the Villain,” is a bluesy romp that mostly meanders and never hits the g-spot. “Rune” is a prodigious undertaking at over seven minutes that ultimately feels a bit too ambitious, though I’ll once again add that it feels close to hitting the right mark. Other songs hit the mark quite nicely, such as “The Great Escape,” a soft, whimsical number that plays like a lullaby and reminds me of the kind of stuff the Smashing Pumpkins were doing on Adore.

If it’s apparent that I couldn’t make up my mind on how to feel about KeyStrings & Lockets that’s because it’s true. I’ll admit it I’m still searching for the right words. I am after all human and maybe I need to spend much more time unraveling this one. What I can at least hope for is that these humble paragraphs inspire you to check out Slow Power Up because what I can say without a hint of discernable doubt is that they are well worth the listen.

Written by Lee Ferguson
*edited by Mike Milito

About Lee Ferguson 67 Articles
What’s there to say about Lee? He is a lifelong Montrealer. He loves to eat in the shower and spend time with his pet Sam the Crow. Most of all, he loves music! Rarely seen without headphones in his ears, he is constantly seeking out new artists and genres, but always falls back on his love for 90’s rock and 80’s pop. Lee has been playing drums for over 15 years in a number of Montreal rock bands and is currently drumming for the alt-rock, punk/grunge-tinged band, Urban Spells. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Concordia University in 2007. So while he’s read just about every Shakespeare play, he promises to never quote any of them in social situations unless, of course, there is an attempted murder of the heir to the throne, then he’ll go all Shakespeare on everybody’s ass.

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