Thursday, November 24, 2011
Slow: Against the Glass (1986)
The theory goes that Vancouver's Slow invented Grunge. The authors of a six-hundred page book on The Canadian Underground of 1985-1995 [!], argue that when Slow brought their anguished but hooky psych-garage-punk-metal sound, all wrapped up in flannel, down south they lit some kind of inextinguishable subterranean coal fire. While there is definitely some truth to this theory, it's too tied to this erroneous single-band-who-invented-a-genre kind of thinking. First off, it's pretty clear that the endlessly-dissected grunge phenomenon had numerous for-bearers both ancient and contemporary. Secondly, who wants to be known as the inventor of 'grunge' and go around arguing 'If it wasn't for me there'd never have been a Candlebox or even a Nickleback"? Yes, yes here during the 20th anniversary of Nirvana's Nevermind we're only supposed to talk about the the more vital aspects of grunge but since the garbage utterly outweighed the gold, let's give Slow credit for more than just being a foundational influence in a dead-end genre.
"Have Not Been the Same" is a total head-fuck. That compellingly repellant guitar riff hypnotizes, while those whoo-hoo-hooo backing vocals pull the listener, like sirens of yore towards the rocky coast of self-disgust ("It seems like lately I just can't keep myself in line) only to deliver you to a possibly glorious horizon in the forum of that ferociously buoyant chorus - "Have not been - have not been - have not been the SAME!
Is there anything else that matches that odyssey on this mini-album? No. But then I'd trade this single song for 99% of all albums labelled 'grunge'.
So what do you make of Slow and their legacy? Let us know in the COMMENTS section (which is where you'll find the Against the Glass link).
Update: Roy Pearl said...
If anyone's interested, I put up a Slow family tree here: