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  Remain In Ether  
  Slow Jets  
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Slow Jets are a three piece from Baltimore. Their own website describes them as a sort of "supergroup", not implying that they have x-ray vision or anything (i hope), but rather that the band is full of Baltimore-area, indie scene veterans. This fact shows in the quality of the music that the band is capable of producing. That is to say that Remain in Ether is a mature album full of interesting songs with quirky vocals, catchy riffs, and great guitarwork.

After listening to the album several times, and spending a while wracking my brain for a comparison or convenient catch-phrase to describe the band, i have come up with this: "Slow Jets sound like what would happen if The Church and Sonic Youth got together to record, and then Mark E. Smith stopped by with a 12 pack". The music has odd, stream of consciousness lyrics that remind me of Steve Kilbey, often sung in a pronounced nasally twang, a la Mark E. Smith (of the Fall), overtop a layer of distroted guitars and impeccable rhythms.

Is that a pretentious description or what? Okay, really, i like this album, and it does seem to combine some of the experimentalism of Sonic Youth (wierd noises, different song structures, feedback, etc.) with the overt pop rock sensibilities of The Church. According to their press sheet, this is supposed to make me think "Guided By Voices", but since my entire exposure to that band is limited to drunken frat boys ranting about how great the band is (and never really listening to them), i will have to trust that Morphius Records knows what they are talking about. Which leads me to wonder if GBV also sound like a hypothetical cross-pollination between Sonic Youth and The Church.....

Okay, well, let's consider some songs, shall we? Although there are no clunkers on this disc, the obvious standout track is Country Under Canada. Actually, this is a mini song cycle consisting of three parts. Land Seeker is a lenghty instrumental prelude that grows and grows, until the (Mark E. Smith like) vocals come in on Grand Delusion singing catchy lyrics over jangly guitars, which then turns into The Würm Lies Down, which is a lenghty guitar jam that seems to come straight off of Daydream Nation. Overall it's about 7 minutes of toe tapping, guitar rocking, goodness. And, despite the long jam out nature of the song, it's actually really catchy. I have, twice now, found myself humming "in a country / under Canada / in a coutry / un dahhhhhhhh". I suppose that there are worst things i could be singing along to...

Other standouts include Famous Flaws of King Ubu, which almost sounds like an outtake from Superchunk's Here's to Shutting Up with a flurry of catchy riffs and poppy lyrics. Last Lights and Just Be Darker are both very 80's ish songs, in that they feature subdued keyboarding, a general sense of quirkiness, and effected guitarwork.

But really, there are no bad tracks here. I am, in fact, quite impressed with Slow Jets. Apparently they have 2 other albums out, but i can't vouch for those. This one, on the other hand, is very enjoyable.

I heartily recommend Remain into Ether for guitar rock fans of all flavors. There are many different textures here, and i can pretty much guarantee that you will find something you like.

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