The Slax
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The Slax


Band Alternative Rock


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"The Slax Review: Waveaux Nuevo"

The Slax Review: Waveaux Nuevo
by Evan Zang

Before I begin this review, please ask yourself the following questions:

1. Do you find it mildly erotic seeing tight pants on grown men?

2. Do you believe it is possible for a ferocious power trio to compose memorable songs?

4. Do you enjoy people who posses a fanatical attitude?

5. Do lyrics about penis size make you tremble with anxiety?

If you answered “yes” to at least 3 of these questions, then you will genuinely enjoy Waveaux Nuevo, the debut CD from The Slax.

“Clever” music has always interested me far more than “technical prowess” (with the single exception of Donald Fagin, the other white meat of Steely Dan, whose remarkable studio technique has always struck me as being technically powerful while still maintaining tasty morsels of cleverness). Therefore, the word, “clever,” accurately dominates the theme of this extremely attention-grabbing CD from The Slax.

Because I am a musician, and also a writer, the undertaking of seeing a new local group perform live is synonymous with sitting down to a much anticipated dinner. And on this particular occasion, I would compare the experience to dining on a richly marbled, brontosaurus sized, prime beef rib-eye steak, accompanied by a magnificent, fragrant Merlot.

When I first saw this band perform live nearly 3 years ago in Tempe, Arizona, it was almost midnight, and ridiculously hot outside (Oh Hell, all right, it was a “dry heat” as we natives like to say). The small club where they were performing was appropriately littered with old friends of the band, relatives, and local “Zony” residents that seemed focused on wearing things that might also look good on significantly dead people. Some street art paintings hung at serious angles on the wall, and near the stage a fishbowl was perched, presumably for tips for either the band or the wait staff (it was impossible to tell).

I could have been in SoHo or Greenwich, but nevertheless the club seemed perfectly appropriate for this relatively young college town. I had just finished my second ice-cold Citron Martini, when, from the rubble of the stage, came the distinctive scratching sound of an electric guitar being tuned. Then, moments later, the 3-piece band, The Slax, began to perform.

Through the fogginess of my age and years of discovering new ways to make my memory even less potent, I recall that halfway through their opening song, my initial impression was: "These guys are indecently loud, dramatically petulant; and clearly on a mission to convince the masses that all is not well at The Betty Ford Center." In essence, I knew I was going to enjoy them, and like everyone else in the club, I stayed to listen to the entire set, and even bashfully joined in for the inevitable applause and encore.

That was three years ago. Let’s fast forward to their new album.

The first thing I thought of when I heard the final notes to their new CD, Waveaux Nuevo, was: “Man, so many possibilities, everything is so new and vibrant.” Do they have musical influences? Of course! The intricate runs from bassist Sean Mayercek remind me of the mind-blowing days of Chris Hillman (The Byrds), interspersed with some vaguely familiar fingering by the late John Entwistle (The Who). Lead guitarist Patrick Sprague’s dexterous riffs take me back to an early, albeit younger, Andy Summers (The Police), yet, I also hear some led Zeppelin, and at times, even flashes of The Clash. Drummer Harold (Tye) Smith sacrifices virtuoso solo performance for the more important catalyst of being the glue and power behind this eclectic group. This mature, back beat approach to rhythm, makes the entire sound almost transcendental.

From the opening track, “Happy,” you know you are in for a sublimely cerebral and eerily perilous journey. “Happy” is probably my favorite song on this album. If Jimi Hendrix were alive today, I'm positive he'd want to jam along with this upbeat, feel good anthem. This is the opening track, and rightfully so, it sets the tone for the remainder of the CD. It is clever, interesting, and ambitious, and radio play should be in its future. Clever. There, I said it.

“Three Inches” introduces us to what I can only describe as the Woody Allen philosophy of rock and roll. Why any male would admit to owning a ridiculously tiny penis is something only Dr. Phil would want to explore, yet, one can't help but laugh as each self-deprecating, enormously humiliating lyric rolls out in front of the equally clever music. Clever, see, I said it again.

“Junkie,” with its resounding percussion and haunting “woo woos” in the chorus, is a surprising and subtle little “bend” on the brain. I can imagine myself and 20,000 other people singing along with the group at an open air concert. This tight little tune gives you the urge to whip out a neon light stick and wave it wildly in the face of a social worker (please don't ask me to explain). Whateve - Evan Zang


LP released late Fall 2007 "Waveaux Nuevo"

i. Happy
ii. Junkie
iii. Sink Or Swim
iv. Frozen
v. Words
vi. Diamonds And Rhinestones
vii. La La Land
viii. Gypsy Queen
ix. Sunday Afternoon
x. Don Knotts
xi. My Temper
xii. Pretty Young Things
xiii. Three Inches
College & internet airplay for single "Frozen" from the CD "Waveaux Nuevo"



Nobody in their condition should be able to make music like this. . . The Slax sound as if The Who beat up The Cure, felt bad about it and bought them lunch. The Slax take you into the crepuscule and on a mad sleigh ride through post punk, driving rock and the craziest-ass blues song to come along in years (3 Inches). (Digital download- 99 cents, watching women’s faces when this song gets played- frikkin’ priceless.) With “Waveaux Nuevo”, The Slax’s debut CD from Natural Partners Records, harmonic tremors start to register. The music is raw, stripped and honest. The pressure for the next CD builds, and will find release, in 2008’s upcoming “Sophomore”. Being a bunch of geeks, The Slax have also invented a weirdness that broadcasts live concerts over the internet from multiple locations with multiple bands. People have been saying. . . they shouldn’t be able to do this stuff. . .

The Slax began in 2002 as The Pantalones with Patrick Sprague on guitar/backing vox, Sean Mayercek on Bass and Lead Vox, and Andy Tafoya on Drums. Andy left in 2003 and was replaced by Tye Smith who also is a very capable back-up singer and Vitamin Salesman. After Changing and Consolidating their sound, they Anglicized their name (to avoid being mistaken for a mariachi band) and began work on their first full length Album "Waveaux Nuevo". Waveaux Neuvo will be released June 20th, 2007. The Slax plan to begin gigging frequently in support of their new album. Also they will start to work on their sophomore album very shortly.