In a rousing effort to resist current trends and established tastes, the Slats' most recent album, Boom Patrol, carries the unmistakable mark of the flannel era from which the band emerged. A clear hail to grunge is prevalent on the track "King of Hawaii," where Sonic Youth-unusual tunings echo in the space of a song. Boom Patrol reflects the dichotomies of its creation. Recorded in an unassuming south Minneapolis home, the songs overlook the landscape of the tolerant atmosphere of Midwestern neighborhoods and the inspiration that can be found there. The same can be said for the band's signature sound. Layered with pleasing, modern melodies, its compositions have pop-song potential, but the band prefers art to hooks. Raw, nonconformist notes disrupt the harmonious synchronization of natural sound, leaving the listener jarred. The Slats resist the temptation to get comfortable or follow a formula for dulcet tunefulness. Instead, the songs dissolve into a disarray of reverb, jerky-inventive rhythms, and screechy feedback—like a good day ruined by a migraine, or a weekend in Duluth spoiled by traveling companions who won't stop talking about work.
The one sing-along number on this journey of test-your-limits rock is "Call My Telephone," with its distinctive, Cheap Trick-inspired refrain. In the end, the album creates a mixed nostalgia, like the memory of a beer-stained rock 'n' roll club that appears mysterious in the darkness of night, but reveals itself as a shit-hole rat trap in the light of day.
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