Am I Showing My Age? A Review of ‘The Illusion of Separation’

Or a better question, am I getting to be the cranky curmudgeon that complains, "They don't make good music anymore!" To be honest, (a rare treat, so enjoy it!), I've cut back on my Top 40 listening over the years. Personally, I'm not enjoying the stuff I hear, and I'd give those stations more of a chance if they would at least play a wider array of crap. Top 40 became "Top 15 whose labels pay the best." Pay for Play has been around since the first commercial radio station hit the airwaves. I truly wish record labels, especially the ones with a few spare bill laying around, would sack up and lay down some cash to some artists that aren't just on the air 'till they can make the transition to their true passion, reality T.V. I'd plea for radio stations to at least give their listeners an hour or two devoted to new, non-cookie cutter music. One band I could suggest for that format would be SLIG.

Overall, it's a nice album to zone out to or have on in the background since it's all instrumental. A very SoCal rock feel for the most part, I could easily imagine one of these songs on a Tony Hawk soundtrack. I got a late '90s vibe sometimes, with hints of Jane's Addiction popping up here, Pearl Jam or Alice in Chains there, some slower Red Hot Chili Peppers simmering in the back of your pallet, with a soupcon of The Smashing Pumpkins. So, this is the question: am I hearing bits and pieces similar to artists I know, or do I just not have a wider vocabulary with which to describe SLIG's album? Either way, this is what you get.

One lesson SLIG could take away from those Top 40, self-promoting whores is to do some self-promotional hooking themselves. SLIG, you need a proper website. I can appreciate that bandcamp.com is a convenient way to sell merch, but you need an outlet to promote. And, as long as you are taking pictures of what you had for lunch, you need to blow up Facebook in a major way. I know it's annoying, but you need to get new listeners everyday, and it's a means to an end. I also truly suggest getting some professional shots taken of yourselves to toss up online. Going through their Facebook pics found more blurry shots of other bands and concert bills they were on than anything else. Especially as a two-piece band, you could get some really interesting photo shoots going. I caught a few decent pics of drummer Kit Morris, but nothing near close enough to show off the beauty of bassist/guitarist April Hernandez. Some promo shots of the band will open doors to fans and clubs looking to book acts. Now, back to the review.

If one were so inclined to partake in such heatheny, this would definitely be a pot over beer album. As heavy as it can get at times, "The Illusion of Separation" keeps it together for listeners and makes for some great background music to life. You could easily have this album on repeat and not get annoyed by it, in particular because the album is 100% instrumental. It makes me wish the tracks weren't titled, that way you could just dig the songs and appreciate them for what they are to you personally. As I listened through the album a third time, I looked over the track list and found myself wanting. Where did these titles come from, and how am I supposed to (as a listener in general) let that affect me? With songs that have lyrics, I'd guess that at least 85% of them sneak the title of the song somewhere into the ditty. Now that I know the name of a track (e.g., a track that I would never assume to carry the moniker "Abort Me"), it puts a different spin on what I initially felt. I suppose the same goes for any art, though. Look at Vincent van Gogh's "The Starry Night." I would have called it, "I Spun Around Too Much."

Never mind what I would call Van Gogh's paintings (Incidentally, "Self Portrait with Felt Hat" should be called "Baddest Mutha in Paris."), but as the Bard says, "A rose by any other name . . . ", so don't let my opinion on song titles affect how you feel about a song. You can go to slig.bandcamp.com to check out both of SLIG's albums and take it from there.

You can thank me later.

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