Local bands, take note: When a weekly newspaper talks shit about your music and gives you grief about changing your formula on a new album, don't write pithy e-mails to complain. Go the Slowride route instead. The Dallas trio disappointed two years ago with sophomore album Building a Building by darkening their catchy post-emo formula and becoming an early '90s sound-alike, yet on their latest disc, they not only stick to that formula but pump it full of smoky, stinking diesel fuel. Doesn't hurt that the diesel engine on C/S is manned by producer Stuart Sikes, and truly, Slowride has never sounded better--Sikes' polish makes these guys sound like hairy, bloody brutes, and the absence of needless overdubs proves how impressive these guys are at whipping up some clatter. But it's a shame that "The Year of the Snake" leads the album off--it's a misleading single, a been-there-done-that rocker which obscures the more interesting three-in-a-row blasters "Slowly," "Morals and Dogma" and "You Can't Tell Me How It Is." Does it hurt that those three tracks sound like B-sides from the first Foo Fighters album? Not really. Songs like the winding, snarling "Morals" overcome their inspiration. Dan Phillips tears the song every which way in its four-minute run and pulls off a mighty nice sing-along chorus: "On our climb out of here, we'll most certainly die of fear." Phillips and Co. do their damnedest to add a unique coat of paint to their inspirations this time, giving the nostalgic and snobs alike something to clench their fists to.
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sam Machkovech