Album – SLAVE to the SQUAREwave – SLAVE to the SQUAREwave

Posted by admin on August 11th, 2008

80’s hairs, 80’s fashion and not forgetting 80’s music. It all came flooding back when I heard SLAVE to the SQUAREwave (STTSW) for the first time on Pete Cogle’s PC Podcast. Although the band are virtually right on my door step, here in Canada, it would be easy to transplant them back into 80’s England, were time travel possible. The first track “Sinners of Saint Avenue” sounds very much like The Associates, who had a big hit with “Party Fears Two” in the early 80’s. The vocals don’t quite cover the same range, or have the same intensity of the Associates lead singer Billy McKenzie, but they share that similar Bowiesque vibe. “New York’s a Go-Go”, begins in a very electrofunk style, but that is soon quashed with heavy guitars and then a more contemporary vocalist came to mind, Neil Hannon of the Divine Comedy.

“Big Change” has that electronic swirling string sound, but it’s upon hearing the vocals that the power of the 80s’ washes over me again. Although “Pumping up the P House” follows in a similar formula, there’s just something about it, that disagrees with me. In fact with 14 tracks on the album, there’s a wealth of music, resulting in an album that’s an hour long and whilst I enjoyed the majority of tracks on the album, there was the odd one or two that seemed slightly out of place, the aforementioned, being one of them.

Of the remaining tracks, I loved “London Baby”, with it’s hint of 90’s pop and “Hopeless Believers” with a great acoustic guitar intro, or I’m assuming it’s acoustic, but knowing this band it’s probably all electronic. “Gorilla Swingin’ Discotheque” would have to be included in the tracks I like, be it just for the title, fortunately there’s also a driving, relentlessness, that while alienating the bands 80’s hallmark, has an almost hypnotic charm.

The album finishes off with a remix of “Pumping Up the P House”, which while not my favorite track, is much preferable to the original.

A really interesting band, that has their feet firmly in the 80’s, but manage to add a more contemporary edge. As an album it feels a little disjointed, but there are enough gems to make the album a worthy addition to your collection. They’re certainly a band I’d be interesting in seeing live, as I’d be quite interested in how they bring this all together live.

Conclusion : A wonderful 80’s bitchslap, which brings back vivid memories of growing up, but also allows me again to wallow in some great music, of a style that is often overlooked.

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