Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Second Spin: Slik, Slik

Posted By on Tue, Jul 15, 2008 at 11:30 AM

click to enlarge SlikCover.JPG

Artist: Slik

Album: Slik

From: Vintage Vinyl’s 99 cent bin.

Year: 1976

Label: Arista

What it sounds like: Some tracks are a bizarre, ahead-of-their-time mix of blues and rock that fuses Elvis, Led Zeppelin and Lou Reed. Others are boring piano ballads being played by a Scottish disco boy band.

Best Track: “When Will I Be Loved.” An Everly Brothers cover opens with a crunchy palm-muted guitar and finishes with a shredding guitar riff. In between there are the trappings of a classic blues song, with lyrics like, “I been cheated/been mistreated/ when will I be loved,” some bubble-gum pop background vocals and an intriguing, stretched distortion sound. This is one of those ahead-of-their-time ones.

Worst Track: “Better Than I Do.” This sounds like a song you’d hear in the dark/reflective period of a bad Adam Sandler movie. Lyrical lowlight: “Speak to me of loneliness and I will tell you everything about it/ speak to me of emptiness cause I’ve never spent a day without it.” Side 1 of this album was an unexpected treat, full of songs that bridged the gap between classic ‘60’s and ‘70s rock and ‘80s and ‘90s Americana (reference points: Violent Femmes, Australia native Nick Cave). Side 2, meanwhile, was filled mostly with mind-numbing, white bread piano ballads like this one.

click to enlarge SlikBack.JPG

Who you can thank for the amazing cover art: No art or design credits on the album, but Wikipedia tells us that once upon a time all of the band members had “Slik” psudonyms like the Ramones, i.e. Oil Slik and Lord Slik. When their first single, “Boogiest Band in Town,” failed miserably, they dropped the names and switched to ‘50s-style baseball outfits. Not only do they look like extras for The Outsiders, but the second guy from the left looks exactly like Andrew McCarthy.

Interesting Facts: Via Wikipedia: Most famous for being the starting point of Midge Ure, who was later successful with the Rich Kids, Ultravox and Visage and as the co-writer/producer of Band Aid’s “Do They Know it’s Christmas.” Almost all of the songs on this album are written and produced by Bill Martin and Phil Coulter, the prodigious pop song writers who brought the world the Bay City Rollers. Slik originally started as a band called Salvation, which was popular on the early ‘70s Scottish disco circuit. Raise your hand if you knew there was ever a Scottish disco circuit.

-- Keegan Hamilton

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