ON RADAR: Told Slant – ‘Going By’ Album Review

 

thTold Slant comes from the mind of Felix Walworth who lovingly refers to the band’s music as “bedroom punk”, I have no idea what that means, but I love it. I also like to think the group comes from a select pedigree of minimalist, melodic, drone-pop straight from beautiful New York City. The new album, Going By comes out of left field and is a very challenging listen, which is why I love music in the first place. This record forces the listener to actually listen. Told Slant is not something to put on in the background while you are washing clothes, or cleaning house. Going By needs undivided attention to understand how well conceived it is.

We can call it the Tom Waits’ aesthetic. Tom Waits is the true rock equivalent of an old-fashioned bard. He is a poet, and a brilliant songwriter. There are some that call into question how well he sings, but that’s never the focal point of a Tom Waits record, you either love him or hate him, there is no in-between.

Told Slant has that Tom Waits aesthetic. Felix Walworth has a very original delivery, and some may not like the way he sings, but that’s not the point. Under the performance layer of music is the ability to write a really good song, and Told Slant have that ability. Songs like; “I Don’t” offer a soft, velvety delivery, with a chorus that will earworm its way in. “Green Nail Polish” offer a sleep-walk pace to a yelping chorus, and a distortion that will jar you awake to find you drew yourself a warm bath. “High Dirge” is a reserved, and repressed slow building dramatic trance. “Low Hymnal” is the most upbeat song on the record, with a catchy finger picking guitar and snare drum that fits perfectly. “Tsunami” opens with the very poignant lyric “I am not a tsunami” when in all reality, all of us already knew that.

Going By clocks in at just over half an hour, and is perfect for those who are trying to relax after a hard day. I very much appreciate the less is more production, minimalist delivery, and gaunt texture of each song.

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