By Brittany Rudyck
New Damage Records
Three years ago Edmonton’s Slates released Taiga to nominal success with the help of prolific producer Steve Albini. The band’s newest effort Summery, uses the same set of ears to take their sound to a place it hasn’t yet been. The record is full of angular, energetic guitar lines and buoyant emotional soundscapes, creating an optimistic arc for the listener. There are moments of light nihilism in the titular track, “Summery,” but they in no way overpower the louder moments of clarity which suggest instead pausing for a moment; taking a breath and moving forward into the next season. The band has gone through several things in their personal lives in recent years and this record carries forward their signature style of grunge-y Canadiana, but with the obvious wisdom and confidence they’ve accumulated over the years.
Where Taiga can feel gloomy at times in its’ heavier tones, Summery decidedly goes in the opposite direction, in search of a different outlook. Small details within much of the distorted, flickering guitar work make that obvious and vocalist/guitarist James Stewart gives just enough away through his lyrics to reassure us Slates can handle any storm that comes their way.New Damage Records, SLATES, Summery