Toronto, Ontario instrumental trio Slow Train Still is made up of Michael Hussey on guitar and loops, Dawn Lewis on drums and other percussion and Ian Starke on bass. As the band states, their 2020 release Invisible Landscapes “is noise to anyone who can't hear it.” I like that statement and their honesty. Although this EP is very, very short, it gives the listener a remarkable sampling of what this trio is capable of musically. With elements of alternative, psychedelic and soundtrack influences, this small collection of songs had me hungry for more.
For starters, “Ain’t Nowhere” gives off a low, mean and distorted guitar sound, followed by a dry, live sounding rhythm section of shuffling brushes on the snare and a menacing but smooth bass melody. There isn’t much in the way of dynamics or risks, in terms of steering away from a three-chord song on repeat, but there is some great noise making by Hussey’s guitar – if you’re into trippy, echoing guitar that is.
Next is “Collateral Damage” a much shorter song that sounds like something from the ‘60s psychedelic rock era. Atmospheric in its style but also, I thought, a bit more imaginative by mixing up old sounds with a newer style of instrumental trip.
Last up already, is the title to the EP “Invisible Landscapes” and as the name implies, this one feels more ambient and soundtrack-like – something akin to David Lynch’s Twin Peaks or Mulholland Drive. I liked this one a lot!
There seemed to be more traditional structure with this tune as well, as the trio made room for an intro, a slow buildup of instruments, loud tension and soft moments within the song’s overall melody and rhythm. A story without words, but obviously instead, an instrument made from their choice of artistic expression. I also liked their use of loops. I am looking forward to Slow Train Still’s next endeavor.
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