Slider Pines' songwriter Joey Shanks claims to
have written Road Avenue Railroad while moving back and
forth between Dallas and Memphis, and there's a distinctly unsettled
feeling running through these 11 tracks. Shanks appears to have
learned well his lessons in rock & roll sarcasm. Nick Lowe
once sang, "I love the sound of breaking glass," which
makes boy-girl arguments sound not so bad after all. With "The
Art Of Falling Down," Shanks sings, "It's such a beautiful
sound/The art of falling down." But before reaching the chorus,
he fills his verses with admonitions, such as getting prepared
with the best helmet you can find, before artfully tripping all
over yourself. Much like any good novelist, Shanks also knows
his way around creating a musical narrative. He gets specific
with towns and cities along his lyrical travelogue, notably with
one titled "Bluffs Of Riverton", which is followed by
"The Memphis Hack".
This CD closes with "Visitor At Your Grave", which
sounds on the surface like another one of those depressing Morrissey
laments. But surprisingly, it's not nearly as morbid as it seems.
Shanks sings about his imagined devotion to a girl; one he aspires
to spend a lifetime with. If he realizes this dream he says, "I
won't be just a visitor to your grave."
Slider Pines is a smart rock band that incorporates hints of
alt.country, without actually sounding country at all. Instead,
this trio knows how to slip in the best bits of American music
without ever becoming typecast by any particular genre.
I have no idea where Slider Pines is, but if it's hiding any
more music like Road Avenue Railroad, then doggone it,
I want to get there soon.
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