Speaking of legendary underground Japanese hard/psychedelic bands like High Rise or Keiji Haino's Fushitsusha, people often talk about how, in Japan, the obscure '60s band Blue Cheer was just as popular, if not more so, than The Beatles.
Bergen County, NJ's Slow Buildings imagines a similar The Man In The High Castle slice of retroactive alternate history where sarcastic new wave-influenced punk rock, a la Dead Kennedys and Devo dominated the radio charts instead of quickly reverting back to mainstream arena rock.
It's not as arty or avant-garde as it seems, however. It's just that singer Jason Legacy's vocal delivery owes much to the acerbic punk rock singers of the past; snotty and sarcastic, with an emotional underbelly. Legacy comes off like a punk rock porcupine with snarling aggression forming a prickly outer shell.
Musically, however, Slow Buildings is pure power pop, full of, as Legacy puts it "immediately catchy with a lot of hooks crammed in, but not in an over-the-top or annoying way. It's melodic and poppy, yet firmly rooted in rock. But with themes of fear, betrayal and manipulation, this is one of Slow Buildings’ darkest releases."
The darkness is implied, not overt. You could be listening to Buddy Holly jamming with The Replacements until you lean in and listen to the tales of betrayal and heartache.
Slow Buildings have been operational for a number of years, Weapons Against Me being their fourth EP, following three full-lengths, but the first few albums were only disseminated to close friends and family. Since then, Slow Buildings has become a fully functional live band.
Considering the songwriting and fidelity, Slow Buildings is shaping up as a band to keep an eye on, particularly if you're in Northern New Jersey. The vocals take a bit of getting used to, but it's a worthy endeavor. Just brush aside a couple of quills, to find the sweet musicians lurking inside.
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