This 8-song CD is Slack Season’s follow-up to 1996’s Big Pinata Sale. Again, self-produced (this time with engineer Ron Richter), and again containing under a half-hour of music, Slack Season’s muscular pop gets to the point and moves on. This is a good thing, because if I hear one more “jam” band trying to hide their inability to write a decent song by stretching each one to over five minutes, I may retch.
The Slackers instead go with quality over quantity. Still built around the guitar-bass duo of the Youngman brothers, but having added guitarist Mike Hale and drummer Dino Fernandez (who also plays keyboards on one song), these are good rootsy rock songs that would have no problem on mainstream radio, but wisely leave some of the rough edges on the recording. Small touches that show attention to their craft abound, particularly in the arrangements and backing vocals. A good example can be found in “Radiate,” which begins with a melodic guitar line reminding me of Robert Buck’s tasteful work with 10,000 Maniacs, and incorporates a “way-oh-way-oh” backing vocal that is reminiscent of the Bangles. Lyrically, Slack Season can still have a literalist scratching his or her head (don’t ask me what a “Car crash in control” is), but again this just adds another layer to the work. Really good stuff. Get it. Slack Season, PO Box 12033, Gainesville, FL 32604; http://www.slackseason.com