While some bands manage to slag through endless, soulless recs/tours 20-plus years into their existence, Columbus, OH's Cheater Slicks are anomalous in their insistence to continually evolve -- to remain not only a relevant group, but a damn good one after two decades of artful scree.
Indeed, 2007's Walk Into the Sea (Dead Canary Records) spoke of a gang who'd grown sharper in tooth. Recent tours and weekenders have been just as fierce as ever. If anything, the Slicks may be better than they were ten years ago, when most others would've already hit their prime, would've run ragged, recycled same old/same old.
But the Slicks: no. They're a potent bunch. Still loose and unhinged, but with the stubborn sophistication of age -- and they're most definitely louder.
"That," says drummer/vocalist Dana Hatch, "was the intention all along: to be noisy and loud. But we never really know how it's going to turn out."
Turns out they've crafted a distinct sound from the usual garage-punk detritus. They've stretched out, too, drawing even sharper distinctions 'tween themselves and the cookie-cutter babybabyohyeah groups with whom they are often -- and unfairly -- associated.
For the Slicks are not a partytime go-go pantomime of their influences. They're a unique group of sheer extremes, one whose bleak misanthropy is tempered with moments of sheer brilliance. By Hatch's admission, "We're the band for people who hate everything else." Maybe that's why most of their fans are anything but casual in their appreciation.
Perhaps it's the trio's obstinance that's so endearing. After all, their evolution has been a languid one -- their earlier work's not so far removed from their current. There's a grimy amalgam of '60s novelty, Velvets strum, punk slop and psychedelic sprawl in all Slicks tunes, should you look hard enough. Brothers Dave (gtr) and Tom Shannon (vox/gtr) harness all manner of the aforementioned, and Hatch maniacally bashes, the three of them cutting watery murk with occasional prisms of bright white light.
Early on, the trio was actually a quartet, playing with a few different bassists, one of whom was none other than Allen "Alpo" Paulino, formerly of Boston's legendary Real Kids. This short-lived line-up played a number of shows and recorded an album's worth of material, including the ominous "Dark Night."
Almost Ready Records recently issued Our Food is Chaos, comprised of the band's sessions with Alpo. Highly recommended for those who want a look into the group's infancy.
Chaos should tide you over until their upcoming live LP on Columbus Discount Records -- "Coming out any day now," according to Hatch. They're also in the midst of recording a new album for the same label. Look out for both.