November 22, 2004

Slomo Rabbit Kick "Horatory Examinations EP"

I'm sure you're curious as to what kind of a band would call itself a name like "Slomo Rabbit Kick". The hilarity evoked by the mental image of a rabbit kicking in slow motion has motivated you to read this review, right?

Well, Slomo Rabbit Kick is a Washington indie pop band, the project of Jay Chilcote, formerly of the Revolutionary Hydra (another interesting band name). I'm not into the Revolutionary Hydra, but I dig Slomo Rabbit Kick. Slomo Rabbit Kick seems to me like the sort of indie pop band a graduate student would start, with intelligent lyrics and communist undertones (check out the cover art featuring a drawing of Asian female revolutionaries). So far, they've released one full-length, Bass Monster Lives In the Bass Forest. On this new EP, they retain the same basic sound they had on the album, which is new wave-tinged indie rock with some Make Up-style funkiness thrown in. Catchy stuff.

While Bass Monster had a little bit of filler, this time around Slomo Rabbit Kick just focus their efforts into five great songs. First is the very new wave "Two Timing", a catchy number with a little bit of Pavementesque abstractness in the lyrics. Verses like "All roads lead to Old Man River, all roads lead to the 70s. All dogs like to lick your face, all dogs like to stand while they pee." lead in to the perfectly straightforward chorus, which justifies the song's title: "I saw you watching me, you seemed to despise. But you're so attracted to me you'd compromise."

After that is "Smell Camino", a song from the soundtrack to a film that John Hughes never made. The second highest point on the EP, it's a very twee concoction evoking the very '80s image of an uncoachable, unapproachable girl with feathered locks who holds even the jocks in her thrall. The title is named after the type of car that she drives. Great female backing vocals on this one really sell it.
The middle song is "Man's Routine Is to Work and to Dream", a song about the futile predicament that many people seem to face, which is being stuck in a dead-end job that they can only pretend to like. I told you there were communist undertones. For me, this is very depressing subject material, but the arrangement, with awesome indie virtuoso guitar playing reminiscent of Dinosaur Jr., makes it easier to cope.

"This Long Parade", the fourth song, is worth the entire CD. According to the press release, this track, recorded and released before the presidential election, is based on a conversation with a "security mom" who wanted to vote for Kerry, but had misgivings. In the context of Bush's re-election, this song assumes a special poignancy. The lyrics reflect an scared electorate willing to support "this long parade of shameful carpetbaggers" to feel more secure, even though they know that it's really hurtful and counterproductive. With the outcome of the election, lyrics like "give the rich a tax break and tell the poor it's for their sake" and "happiness comes to those who have no fear, but there's a catch: cuz when you're god-fearing you have to fear everything" seem all the more powerful. It's like an indie pop version of the classic singing journalist style of Phil Ochs. Buy the EP just for this song. If you're a left-leaning college radio DJ, you'll want to play this song over and over again until America pays attention to the lyrics and realizes what a moron it has been.

The last track is "Pseudo-Science", a catchy piece of abstract lyrical ridiculousness. It's a good song, but with lyrics like "brandish your pseudo-science, proves a nasty reliance on the things you feel, your love is a banana peel", I guess it does sound trivial after the powerful "This Long Parade". Still, it ends the EP on a fun note. Besides, after these great fourteen and a half minutes, you'll definitely want to go back and listen to "Smell Camino" and "This Long Parade!"

--Eric Wolf

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