This blog is mostly about obscure and criminally underrated 80’s music. Once in a while I manage to slip in a piece about current artists/ bands who are outstandingly talented and deserve recognition. I am honored to break the mold once again by bringing you a critic’s view of “The Money Shot” just released by Toronto’s own Slave To The SQUAREwave.
Several weeks ago I featured the Slaves and talked about their (many) accomplishments to date. This time, I want to focus on their latest, and in my opinion greatest, release to date.
David Marsden has been providing us with teasers over the past few months by playing a few select tunes from the forthcoming and highly anticipated Slaves CD. I expected the full version to have a mixture of great and so-so songs, like many of the hundreds of CDs/albums I have purchased in my lifetime. Was I ever (thankfully) wrong. “The Money Shot” is nothing but grade-A perfection right out of the starting gate. And, why wouldn’t it be? These guys are professional, uber-talented, and highly entertaining. What a concept!
Colin Troy’s vocals are flawless. As mentioned before, he is channeling David Bowie and beyond back when Bowie’s voice was at its peak. Rob Stuarts’ synths are over-the-top (and it’s well-known how much I adore synth-driven music), providing the perfect heart-and-soul and musical meat to Colin’s voice, an instrument unto itself. Andrew Starr’s guitar performance is in a class all by itself. He does the work of any three guitarists combined, bringing a rich sound to the Slaves’ songs. And last, but not least, Doug Lea’s driving rhythms are the icing on the cake, the backbone of a combination so meant-to-be, it takes your breath away.
“The Money Shot” starts with a scratchy, meant-to-sound-like 78 RPM piece that lulls the listener into thinking, “What the heck?” Just as your brain is trying to wade through its confusion, the band launches into “Weapon Of Self Destruction,” leaving you feeling as though you have just been thrust into the roller-coaster ride of your life. Next up is “Dirty Disco,” a synth-based dance piece that coins the adjective “Whoregeous.” From there, the Slaves catapult into a song that might have just transported itself from the 80’s with a middle-Eastern flair, “Healing Hands.” Marsden’s chat room has designated this the room favorite.
“Boy vs. Girl” is definitely an 80’s new-wave tip of the hat that works exceptionally well. “Average Life Span” has a wah-wah guitar intro, perfectly executed by Andrew Starr, that is to die for. When the song cranks up, with Colin’s voice playing off of itself, that’s exactly what you will find yourself doing to your stereo – cranking it. “Please Have Sex With Me” uses male and female voices alternating grunts and groans that is so hysterically successful in the true spirit of the song. “Jimi Hendrix” is a deceptively laid-back tribute to the master himself that has Doug Lea’s drums fueling a forceful beat.
And that’s not all. Feel like a beautiful love ballad? The first one in this collection, “Love Unknown” showcases Colin’s lovely and emotion-laden voice. “Strange Summer (Some Are so Strange)” is so fabulously 80’s personified, and so deliciously lush musically and lyrically. “S.O.B.” is pure Colin and his wry sense of humor. It’s a fun song with a wicked bass and back-beat.
“Metaphysical” has a bit of a psychedelic flair to it, along with a tad of 90’s Madchester thrown in for fun. And, speaking of Madchester, check out Rob Stuart’s masterful, chugging organ/keyboards in “Love and Let Die.” “White Knuckle Trip” reminds me of my first (and last) time on Disney World’s Space Mountain. It grabs you from the first note and doesn’t let go until you are absolutely wrung dry (in my case from chair-dancing until I drop).
I have a soft spot for “My Beautiful One.” David Marsden dedicated it to my better half and me late one night, and I have adored it ever since. It’s a gorgeous ballad guaranteed to melt even the coldest of hearts. And Colin’s voice? Once again its beauty and expression defy description. The closing track, “Dirty Disco (Whoregeous Mix)” is a fun and welcome remixed version, using Kim Stuart’s engaging voice sampled singing “At The Dirty Disco.” Well done.
So much talent, so little recognition. And, as if sixteen tracks of sheer bliss isn’t enough, the Slaves have included a DVD with extra goodies. This is a collection that you cannot afford to be without. Let your fingers do the walking over to Marsden Global and click on the CD’s icon on the right side of the page. Support these guys by buying the superb CD/DVD combo “The Money Shot.” And one day soon, when they finally hit the big time, you’ll be glad you did.
Slave To The SQUAREwave Resources:
Ralph D’s Slave site: http://slavetothequarewave.blogspot.com/ where you can view the Slaves’ complete discography and song lyrics
Slave To The SQUAREwave’s official site: http://www.slavetothesquarewave.com/
Marsden Global: http://www.marsdenglobal.com/
Slave To The SQUAREwave on MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/slavetothesquarewave