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+ Various Artists - Tibetan And Bhutanese Instrumental And Folk Music, Volume 2
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+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #2)
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #1)
+ The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
+ The Glass Family - Sleep Inside This Wheel
+ Various Artists - Songs For Sixty Five Roses
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Singapore Sling
The Curse Of Singapore Sling

The Curse of Singapore Sling doesn't have to grow on you, you don't have to learn to like it, you don't have to wait to appreciate it or acquire the taste. This isn't a slow-brewed malt beverage or a perfectly aged fine wine — with this you toss your head back, sling it down and curse it for being so damn good, so damn easy to fall madly in love with from the very instant you lay ears on it.

"Listen baby, you drive me insane," opens the album, lead singer/songwriter/guitarist Henrick Bjornsson's ultra-low, throaty vocals backed by an instantly engaging hollowed-out snare, tambourine shimmers and minimal finger-picked guitar that breaks into a huge wave of electrified riffing. "Drive me around in your midnight train," continues lead track "Overdriver." "I want to eat you like you're sugarcane/ You stir me up and you fry my brain."

Just as the rest of the record does. That's rock 'n' roll — instant gratification, instant appeal, instant love. Why else would it be the soundtrack for young lives? My grandmother always said youth is impatient. She's right, they can't wait, they want it now, they have to have it now and the Sling will give it to them now and, most importantly, give it to them good. And it's only the first album for the Icelandic foursome — these incredible rock 'n' rollers didn't have to wait long either. They've had the curse all along.

The Curse of... plays with stop/start melodies and booming, gritty rhythms ("Overdriver"), pretty, fragile songwriting fed by delicate crooning and sexual innuendoes ("I want to play in/ Your summer garden," sings Bjornsson on "Summer Garden"), feedback, electronic effects and dueling surf guitars (the all-instrumental "Roadkill"). And with distant whistles, soft, faded-out wails and delicate strums "Chantisissity" is the dreamiest, while the sluggish, grinding closer, a cover of The Standells' '60s hit "Dirty Water," is, fittingly, the dirtiest. Through and through, this album is moving, engaging, consuming and amazing rock 'n' roll.

For their dark, down-and-dirty feel, tambourine shakes and vocals that shoot out like roughed-up echoes, Singapore Sling will garner many comparisons to the Jesus & Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine, and rightfully so. But they've dug up enough honesty and soul from within to make these sounds their very own. Bjornsson is writing the kind of music you want to jump onto and ride. A lot is going on here (battling guitars, mean bass lines, pummeling beats, luring vocals, not to mention all the howling, fuzzed-out, spacey electronic effects) and it takes you somewhere else, away from wherever you are.

Singapore Sling stir you up and fry your brain — drives me insane.

by Jenny Tatone

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