theSlacks – Information Ape (The Rolling Vibe) (Album Review)

Taranki-based rockers, theSlacks have just released Information Ape, their third album overall and first in almost nine years.

You may remember theSlacks for their 2018 “hit”, Yeah Nah, or you may not.

Either way, the quartet, fronted by brothers Scott and Mark Armstrong, seem determined to continue plying their trade, writing and recording songs that, according to their press release, ‘joyfully produce an eclectic blend of music spanning a broad-range of influences, positioning theSLACKS all over the rock-folk-indie-pop spectrum.’

They name-check Neil Young and The Kinks and, while the Neil influence may be minimal, I can hear some of Ray Davies’ style in opening tracks Information Ape and Friends Sit And Talk.  We are talking mid-period Kinks…69-75…folky, upbeat but with lyrics that are universally relatable.

Perhaps the Neil Young vibe chimes in with the harmonica that is heard throughout Old King Young…wait a minute, I see what they did there!

Actually Old King Young, a slower, darker tune, adds a bit of gravitas to the proceeding, which is good. The following track, Crystal Mountain High, inspired by an appearance at a music festival where things got wet and the audience got naked, musically reminds me of classic Grateful Dead/NRPS.

Then track number five, Yesterday’s Paper finds the quartet exploring their psychedelic side along with a cool trumpet blast thrown in.

As many albums tend to be, the second half is less satisfying that the first. I like the energy of the electric blues-rocker Here It Comes, but ultimately it doesn’t really go anywhere and they really lost me on the quasi-reggae When You Find Me.

The fiddle playing on Pine Cone Flue Open is fun…a cool hoe-down thing going on… but by now the diversity seems to be working against the band, making Information Ape feel more like a compilation album rather that a cohesive statement.

Mind you, theSlacks are good at what they do, but perhaps they need an outside ear to help them sort through their influences and develop their own style.

Marty Duda

Information Ape is out now. Click here for more of theSlacks.