Cleveland surf punkers Slug Fest have dropped a gritty, goodtime as hell release titled Animal that we all deserve.
Wait, did I just say “Cleveland” and “surf punk” in the same sentence? You bet your grits I did. By now you are probably asking yourself how is surf punk even possible in the rust belt, but I assure you it is, it works, and it’s outstanding.
Hailing from the shallow waters of Lake Erie, Deirdre McCafferty, Michael Luciano, and Michael Stanis share a love for proto punk, garage rock, and psychedelic noise that in turn helped shape their sound. The surf riffs were just an added enhancement that made Animal even better.
Starting off was “Never Be Your Baby”, a banger of a song that was just bad ass to listen to. I loved when things slowed down only to explode again. One song in and I was completely digging it.
When “On The Run” started it just gave me energy and captured my attention in the best way. The change up in the middle had me smiling while nodding my head in approval.
Title track “Animal” was equal parts 80s punk as it was garage rock. The bass riff combined with the non-stop guitar playing just made for a hell of a tune to listen to. Not much singing, but plenty of riffs and jams. I have the feeling this song live would be amazing.
Noise-heavy, “Surf Demon” was an adventurous journey with plenty of fuzz and fun. Loved the breakdown towards the end where you can clearly hear the trio having a blast doing what they love to do.
“Moonlight Power” was to me the track on the album that showed the true dynamic of this band. At times I was reminded of Ween as it was all over the place, but that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it was one of my favorite songs on the release. The best part of this track was the horror-laced theme throughout.
“Luce Potentia” was surf noise at its finest. I loved the mysteriousness on this track that seemingly could fuel an angry ride around the city. The drums were chaotic, the guitars never held back, and the singing was enchanting.
This threesome seemingly came out swinging with their impressive style and Animal is the proof. Imagine the fun of Japandroids mixed with the fuzz noise of bands like Muhammadali but with surf riffs galore and you’ll have a slight inclination of what this infectious sound is all about.
The band actually said that “Animal was intended to be a collection of big, standalone bangers that capture how we sound and play live. Our shows are usually exceedingly loud and hectic/high energy and we wanted to make recordings that express/capture that.” I can honestly say they achieved that.
My only suggestion to this trio is to press this release on wax so I can spin it daily. I’ve listening to this album a ton over the last month with no intentions of taking a break. Certainly well received by this listener.
The band was supposed to play an exclusive show at the Grog Shop this month, but that stupid virus got in the way and cancelled it. Look for this talented, young threesome to smash some heads in 2021. They will not go unnoticed.
Also, if you think you can’t surf in Cleveland, you are clearly mistaken as seen here: