September 29, 2003

Slipside "The World Can Wait'

Matinee mastermind Jimmy Tassos says that Slipslide's debut album, The World Can Wait, is one of Matinee's best albums to date. Once again, I find myself totally and utterly concuring to his opinion, because not only is The World Can Wait one of the label's best records, it's also one of the best indie pop albums to come out all year. Seriously--it's that good. (It's better than Belle & Sebastian's new one, but, then again, that's not really saying much any more.) It's a heady mix of pop melody, intelligent lyrics and smart musical arrangements. It's all quite tasteful and engaging.

The World Can Wait (nice Smithsesque title!) starts off on a sublime note, with the lovely "Sleeptalk." The minute lead singer Graeme Elston opens his mouth, you'll realize that you're in the presence of pop greatness. It's a quiet little rocker, one that recalls a time not so long ago (okay, 1988 seems like it's 15 years ago), where bands like Slipslide were loved and nutured and treated with respect, regardless of album sales. (Was it really so long ago when labels respected their artists and invested in a band for the long haul? Seems like a dream..) Heck, these four well-kept young men even look like they have the capability of making great pop music. Typecasting? Judging a book by its cover? Why, of course--why do you think they make covers so pretty?

The great thing about The World Can Wait isn't that it has a wonderful retro sound. No, in fact, it doesn't sound 'retro'; it sounds so contemporary to bands like The Mighty Lemon Drops, Go Betweens, Aztec Camera and Ocean Blue. If I wasn't at this point in my life where I eagerly await each and every Matinee release with baited breath, I would easily be convinced that The World Can Wait was a lost album from 1986, held up in major label limbo, and just now seeing the light of day. Though I know better, I'm still not entirely sure that this album wasn't made in 1986. I've been hitting repeat on the lovely, shoulda-been-hits of "Signs of Life," the wonderful "The World Can Wait" and the bedroom dancer "The Right Time."

For a label that's released many wonderful albums, The World Can Wait is easily Matinee's crown jewel. I've been listening to it over and over and over and I've written and rewritten this review several times over the past few weeks, but I can't really capture how much I love this album without overwhelming my review with typical fanboy fervor. Instead of pontificating about this or that, I'm just gonna say that this is the best album that Sire never released in 1987, and hope that you understand that such a statement means only one thing: high quality. A great debut album from a record label who have helped to redefine quality in pop music. (They've already surpassed Sarah in my book, and are now on the way of being the next Sire Records--well, sans Madonna. Unless there's something we don't know about...)

--Joseph Kyle

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