Intense, raw and edgy, Eighties Slang’s retro-inspired sound is a lot like verbal graffiti. Pulling forth a post punk rock cadence similar to Metric, the National and Future Islands, Eighties Slang right away hooks you with their wash of anthemic vibes and melodic guitar riffs. Hailing from Chicago, the band is comprised of Ted Collins (vocals, guitar, bass), Devin Delany (vocals, guitar, bass, synth), Manuel Sanchez (lead guitar, synth) and Steve San Pietro (drums). With a wide catalog of music, the group has a number of their songs featured in films and documentaries. The band’s recent single – “Just A Start” – was featured in the indie film When Jeff Tried To Save The World, starring Jon Heder. Four songs were included in the soundtrack for the documentary, F*** Your Hair, which tells the story of 5-Rabbit Brewery and its struggle in breaking business ties with the current president of the United States.
With the release of their latest EP, Shark Magic, Eighties Slang goes on to cement themselves in the Chicago punk rock scene. The EP is a collision of sounds and colors that culminates with a maelstrom of synergy. Each instrumental on this record is played with reckless abandon, a wild pursuit into sonic territory.
Shark Magic opens with “Sweat, An Ambulance,” where synths pave the way for an ambient backbeat on this track. The interlude reminds me of the theme song to Stranger Things. The electronic beats call forth an ‘80s-inspired tune. This is a groovy production as electric guitars, bass and drums also add to the driving beat. This song is catchy and anthemic with a seamless flow. The music eventually climaxes with some cathartic tunes. The vocals are shouted out with gusto near the end. The cadence is overall jaunty and filled with a contagious energy.
On “Impossible Me,” early on a wall of guitars add a sonic discourse to the very start of this track. The guitars are melodic with the music conveying the longing and regret that are evoked in the lyrics. A coalescing of guitars, synths, bass and a rhythmic drumming beat as the sound dives into a melodic and dynamic cadence. Spiraling guitars course throughout this song. The punk spirit is highly evident on this track. A tragic song about a “closeted covenant of someone afraid to love,” a pressing sense underlines this track. Tantamount emotions are filtered through this dramatic sounding song. Fast-paced drums sets the pace on the rhythms section.
Following is “Lost And Found,” where dramatic strumming on the guitar embraces the start of this track. The synths add an atmospheric layer to the music. Ghostly feels arise on the backdrop. Then the cadence steadily builds up for a more dynamic and upbeat vibe. The chorus is catchy and infectious. There is some really lush harmonies and vocal layering.
Toward “Lower Wacker,” anthemic guitars rises and takes over the gamut of the song. An angsty song about one’s descent into anger, intimacy and deception, this is a darker sounding track that feeds into heavy bass lines and eerie synths. The intricate melodies on this song reminds me of the guitar work on Minus the Bear. Provocative lines like “darker the more beautiful,” suggest the mental descent into darker waters. The chorus dives into a more aggressive sound.
On the closer, “Don’t Call Me Out” the beat pounces with bouncy rhythms with a catchy backbeat and a jaunty tune. Reining in the pitfalls of heartbreak with an amped energy and catchy riffs, this is a dance-worthy track. A cascading wall of guitars pivots off this song. Midway into the track, fuzzed out vocals shout out the lyrics.
A recognizable wash of iridescent melodies filled with light and colors, Shark Magic is a stirring release. The music chases something lost but then found, evoking a feeling that simmers in the backdrop but eventually seethes into the forefront. Harnessing a whole lot of feeling, listeners will really feel the music deep in their bones.
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