By Peter Lindblad
mostly for his work with a solo Don Henley in the ’80s, Slo-Leak mashes up traditional blues guitar with a dense, swampy thicket of funky, down-and-dirty electronica on the duo’s third album.
While such an illicit coupling may enrage blues purists, the combination of organic and programmed elements provides deep, dark grooves and a hard-hitting, multi-dimensional aural experience that wallows in sleaze. Smoldering tracks like “Death By Hollywood,” “White Lines” and “Crazy Mixed Up World” have all the sweaty charm and Skid-Row ambiance of a seedy motel, but the grim reality is tempered by a devilish sense of humor and the impossible-to-deny temptation of their serpentine hooks. Soaking cautionary tales in the whiskey-and-cigarettes growl of Carp, Slo-Leak begins this foray into cyber-blues with the sinewy, bass-driven “Taillights,” and by the time the predatory prowl of “House Of Cards,” reminiscent of Peter Gabriel’s “Digging In The Dirt,” comes ’round with its chunky, computerized R&B grind, it’s clear Carp and Kortchmar have bad intentions in mind.
For all its modern ways, this record, which features clever guitar figures from both men, manages to capture the original spirit of the blues (see “Sold For Parts”), while, at the same time, charting its future course.