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(52:10; Rock Company)
TRACK LIST 1. Exactly What to Do 3:59 2. Hyperslump 4:10 3. Let Some Light 4:21 4. Fine With It 3:54 5. Thoughts 4:58 6. When You Were Living Here 5:40 7. Becoming 3:43 8. So Ya Got a Great Guitar 3:38 9. Hold of You 4:31 10. Beings Far Away 5:47 11. Purple Monkey 3:06 12. One More Step 4:23 LINEUP: Doug Harrison - vocals, guitars, piano, string arrangements, programming with: Randall Stoll - drums Sam Levin - guitars, string arrangements Jeff Caron - bass Mike Young - bass, programming Dave Young - programming Rod Senft - drums Scott Young - bass Jeremy Tardif - voice Tatyana Dobrowolski - voice Sam Levin - voice Scott Archibald - voice Nando Polesol - voice Bonnie - voice Shauna - voice
Prolusion. Canadian venture SLUG COMPARISON is the creative vehicle of composer and musician Doug Harrison, a side project from his main band Fen where he gets to explore music of a different character than in his band. This project first appeared in 2014, and have released two albums so far. "When You Were Living Here" is the most recent of these, and was released through Dutch label Rock Company in 2019.
Analysis. While Slug Comparison by and large is regarded as a progressive rock band, this isn't a band that explores the genre in any conventional manner. As a matter of fact, the progressive contents as such are fairly minimal, and I'd wager a bet that the main crowd for the music on this album at least probably aren't die hard progressive rock fans. Instead, I'd suggest that those who know and love their alternative rock would be a more ideal audience. It is not that this album lacks ingredients recognizable to fans of progressive rock, but it is more a case of these being perhaps of a secondary nature. Alternative rock and perhaps even grunge strikes me as a far greater presence throughout, as well as song that develops out from a singer songwriter initial foundation. Hence we are given tight riffs on one hand and clean and acoustic guitars on the other. Be it one or the other the songs themselves will often be pretty straight forward affairs, where the major developments are in the arrangements rather than structure and pace, alterations in intensity the key element. Some songs do have more sophisticated features of course, but not to the extent to ever become challenging nor demanding. But quirky son developments can be found here and there, as well as the occasional song with passages having a clear transition into something else. Perhaps due to the excellent lead vocals at hand, I did get some Radiohead associations along the way here, albeit a subtle rather than a striking one at that. Harrison is an excellent vocalist though, and his delivery is of the highest quality throughout, using intensity to good effect to maintain and create tension. Those who know and treasure high quality vocalists at their best will get a lot out of this album on this aspect alone, no matter what type of music you tend to normally enjoy. I also took note of a couple of songs with a few jazzy touched applied, and that the catchy 'So Ya Got A Great Guitar' in my ears at least includes a riff nod or two in the direction of bands like Tool. Otherwise I note that this is an album with excellent mix and production, further enriching the total experience for the listener. This, alongside the vocals, lifting the overall album experience up a notch or two.
Conclusion. Slug Comparison isn't a go to band if you desire to find out what contemporary progressive rock sounds like, but it is an album that merits a check if you want to hear how much this genre have influenced music in general and what I'd choose to describe as alternative rock in particular. A prog-tinged rather than a progressive rock album if you like, but a really well made one at that.
Progmessor: June 28th 2019
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