October 08, 2003

Slowride "Building a Building"

"Slowride....take it easy!"

I'm sorry, I just had to get that out of the way. Every time I look at Building a Building, I can't help but think of that little lyrical gem. It's one of classic rock's best lines, and it also describes the philosophy of Seventies rock, doesn't it? You bet. And, in a weird way, it really describes Slowride's new album. This Dallas band really doesn't mince words when it comes to their rock and roll attack, yet they're extremely cool about the whole affair.

At first, you could be easily deceived into thinking that these guys had mellowed out, because the short album opener, "Solitary Man," is a acoustic country-like number, but it quickly gives into the brutal hard-rockin' "Smoke Cigarettes," and that brutal onslaught never stops. Sure, they occasionally get a little bit mellow on songs like "Sacrifice vs. Apathy" and "Quitting Again," but those moments are few and far between, and though they're both excellent numbers, it's the things between the few and far between that really makes Building a Building an utterly wonderful album. In order to comprehend what makes Building a Building special, you need to understand where Slowride come from.

Texas is a big state. No, really, it is a HUGE state. If you've never experienced the pleasure of driving across Texas, then you can neither appreciate nor understand the serious of that first sentence. Coming from Texas, it's obvious that Slowride understand and appreciate the vastness of their homeland, because their album is, at the end of the day, pure Texas. Only a band who has travelled across this great land could really reproduce the feeling of driving west of Dallas on I-20 or South to Austin on I-35--places where there's a whole lot of nothing but flatness and big sky.

Though their sound owes to punk, it's firmly rooted in classic, modern and road-trip worthy ROCK MUSIC. Did they set out to make a record for Texas road-trips? I do wonder about that, because every time I listen to it, I'm on the highway, I'm about to be on the highway, or I'm wishing I was on the highway. I mean, "Panther 1" and "Building a Building" make me want to put the pedal to the metal, and really don't seem appropriate for idle, inactive listening.
Like their rock neighbors Centro-matic--whose producer, Matt Pence, produced Building a Building--they understand that there's nothing better in life than listening to fuzzy, kinda stoned rock music on the car stereo. Sure, some folk might be snarky about it and say that Slowride sound an awful lot like Stone Temple Pilots or Foo Fighters, but let's not forget that both bands had some really great moments in their day.

So for your next road trip, you really should seek out Building a Building; pop it in your stereo and you'll be glad you did. The road will seem shorter, your driving will be faster, and if you're with friends, you're guaranteed a good time. Slowride have broken out of the emo pigeonhole and have made a hard-rock record that's totally wonderful.

--Joseph Kyle

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