Monday, April 16, 2007

SLOVENLY - We Shoot For The Moon LP (SST/1989)

Sometimes All Music Guide gets it so wrong, it's embarrassing. Take, for example, this review of Slovenly's masterpiece, We Shoot For The Moon, by Dean Carlson:

"The Smoking Popes with a Gang Of Four fixation wasn't a bad idea, but Slovenly began to show that they didn't quite know where to take it. The album was back-heavy with "Things Fall Apart," a remarkable 20 minutes of crackbrained strings, whacked-out amelodic horns, and atmospheric Krautrock incoherence, and it cast a long shadow over the middling post-punk blues of the previous tracks. We Shoot for the Moon was largely uneventful. "You Cease to Amaze Me" was equal parts skeletal art punk and Guns 'n' Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine," but boring, willfully obtuse, and cut short before it had a chance to come alive. A struggling, inconsistent step to the side."

Such a review only begs one question: was he actually listening to the right album? For the record, it must be stated that WSFTM does not sound anything like The Smoking Popes, Gang Of Four or, sheeeez, Guns 'n' Roses, though you could throw around such names as Captain Beefheart, The Fall, Red Krayola, Wire, Television, The Scene Is Now and, most certainly, early MX-80 Sound. In fact, if my memory is serving me correctly, the review in Forced Exposure at the time stated that its resemblance to MX-80's 1977 Island LP, Hard Attack, was almost uncanny, and such an observation is correct. Unlike Slovenly's previous efforts, which had a distinctly tight-assed Anglo post-punk aura to them, WSFTM is loose, sloppy, and surprisingly heavy metal-ish, in the classic '70s sense of the word. But it remains my favourite album of theirs, a disc I bought upon its release in 1989 and shall hang onto 'til death comes a-'knockin'.
Slovenly remain one of the most foolishly ignored '80s American underground bands by people who'd very likely dig their wares. OK, so their catalogue is all currently out of print, but those names I threw about just before - Television, The Fall et al - weren't just for show: Slovenly's three best LPs from the '80s - Thinking Of Empire, Riposte and We Shoot For The Moon - are required listening for fans of all of the above, really. Just thought I'd set the record straight after reading that incredibly stupid review in AMG. Case closed, now move along...


Mrow said...

Moon is my favorite too. Riposte is really great too, but Moon kicks up a way bigger racket, and racket beats quiet most days for me.

Did you ever hear the Tom Watson solo CD from the late 90's? It's great too, in an OVERPASS-on-a-bedroom-4-track kinda way.

Oh and thanks for kind words! I'm honored to be featured in what must be the only other pro-SST blog on the planet!

mr waggish said...

My wife and I have loved Slovenly from the moment we heard Moon--"Self-Pity Song" is her favorite. "I am dilapidated and young." That final Ajax EP was pretty great too.

Anonymous said...

Have been reading for a while, but just thought I'de say that this was a really worthwhile read!