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Raging Slab | Pronounced Eat-Shit | review | rock | Lollipop

Raging Slab

(Pronounced Eat-Shït) (Tee Pee)
by Brain Varney

Great title. The artwork takes the joke a bit farther, lifting its cover art, all the way down to the band name font and the box of "Raging Slab Rocks" on the back, from Lynyrd Skynyrd's debut. Lest you get the wrong idea, though, the joking stops there. Prior to this, the only thing I knew about Raging Slab was "Don't Dog Me," which I like, and the word of mouth I'd heard that all or most of their studio albums are fatally flawed in one way or another. Dunno if that's true or not, but after a few listens to this one, I'll be finding out for myself shortly.

After opening with a song about a car (a nicely chosen, slide-heavy cover of Todd Rundgren's "Little Red Lights," played here as if the car in question were creeping over a deserted Kentucky dirt road in the middle of the night), Pronounced Eat Shit promptly turns reflective: There are songs for fallen icons (Miss Ruby Starr of Black Oak Arkansas and Joey Ramone) as well as songs with titles like "Hell Yawns Before Me" and "Bury Me Deep." The tempos are generally on the slow side, the emotional tone one of contemplation. There is none of the screaming and jumping up and down that passes for emotion in loud rock music these days. A song like "Shake What You Can" is a perfect example: It rocks, no question, but it's surging with emotion as well. And we're not talking angst-ridden college-boy/indie-rock emotion ("Why won't the girl with the pierced lip and tattoos talk to me?"); rather, it's the everyday struggles that are the basis of classic soul and country music.

Before I crawl too far up my own ass, I don't want to give the mistaken impression that Pronounced Eat Shit is a total bummer. There are times when you can almost see the band members looking in the mirror, studying the signs of aging that weren't there before. And while this sort of contemplation certainly informs their music, it doesn't change the face of it. Instead, it adds depth to the emotional palette. So, yes, this is still a rock record, but a richer, more compelling one than I've heard in awhile.
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