Review Summary: After an agonizing wait, You Slut! return with one of the best instrumental rock albums in years.
Who here remembers You Slut!? Nearly five years ago the band dropped its debut, Critical Meat
, to little fanfare and lukewarm critical reception. Since then, You Slut! have been merely “around,” playing shows and writing tunes all the while still flying under the radar. Yet with its sophomore release Medium Bastard
, the band has settled into a sweet spot, playing to all the ambivalent listeners who missed out the first time around.
In a nutshell, Medium Bastard
is everything that Critical Meat
was not, and then some. Featuring the same frenetic and mathy sound as its predecessor, the album is a concistently exciting instrumental suite, somewhat in the vein of last year’s Gangs
and 2010’s We’ve Been Talking
. It’s a lot heavier this time around, with rock oriented passages taking center stage. The band has also upped the post-rock influence, adding subtle builds and crescendos to give the album a very dynamic feel. Most important, however, is the completely reworked production. Where Critical Meat
at times sounded muddy and cheap, Medium Bastard
sounds crisp and clear.
As a strict “math-rock” group, You Slut! once relied on bizarre time signatures and break-neck tempo changes. Here the band takes a much different approach. That isn’t to say that one won’t hear some truly confounding shifts, but rather, they are done here so subtly and organically that they feel so much more than a gimmick. There is intrigue and excitement around each corner, and each track has its very own style and flavor. Whether it is the non-stop and punchy “Magnifiererer,” or the so-groovy-that-it’s-infectious “Fifzteen,” the variety contained here should please everyone.
It’s been a long time for sure, but You Slut! have made the best of it by crafting one of the finest instrumental rock albums of this year and last. Medium Bastard
is everything one could want; an addictive and exciting display of musical prowess married with thoughtful and creative songwriting. A crowning achievement indeed.