The Slats

Boom Patrol

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You've got to love this band. They've created a world all their own, which is only partially attached to the rest of our reality, but enough so that they don't seem totally alien or ridiculously fey and twee. Thus the Slats can in quick succession celebrate the success of a computer geek on "I Wrote the Code," follow a soldier soon to be deployed to a war zone on his search for the perfect pet on "Reptilium Rescue," then meet up with "Stegosaurus WrxxX." There again, it helps that ofttimes even the most far-fetched scenario is merely a backdrop for exploring more serious issues on Boom Patrol. The flip of this coin, of course, are the less surreal numbers that deal straightforwardly with interpersonal relations, like "Fireball" and "Call My Telephone." This lyrical dichotomy is, as fans are well aware, carried into the musical realm as well. Careening between power poppy, infectious punk rock and harder, more experimental post-punk styles, the Slats defy categorization. "Ignatious" strolls straight into hip-hop, while "DoubleXX Ranch" rides the range of goth-flavored post-punk. The title track, in contrast, sounds like a squelchy Ramones, "Ironman" like the Fall, while "Fireball" is driving punk rock, and "Telephone" power pop. By the time the Slats reach their big rock finale, "Ninja III," they have covered nearly every style in the book. And for all their lo-fi qualities, the group easily escape that tag here. The production and arrangements may be minimalistic, but the trio still kick up a musical storm and one hell of an album.

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