Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Earthy, Neko Case-esque vocals

March 6, 2004

Best Element: Earthy, Neko Case-esque vocals.

Genre: Alt Country

Label: Redemption Records
Website: www.slowvein.com

In this musical world, we name genres that are actually a fusion of two different things (i.e. post rock, alt country, pop-punk, noise rock). Invariably, when a band gets slapped with one of those genres, it will lean more to one direction than the other. For example, Good Charlotte leans more to the pop than the punk.

Slowvein is an alt-country band that has a lot more alt than country. They still have the country inflections and some of their musical trends, but this is a rock album first and foremost. Their vocalist Elizabeth Turner has powerful, earthy vocals that sometimes overpower the music and create a pop-like croon over the music, but mostly they stay raw and thick. They are the main draw to this album, and they don’t dissapoint, although fans of Neko Case might find themselves thinking they’ve heard the voice before.

The guitar work here isn’t innovative, but it’s solid work nonetheless. I would quote a specific place that they’re especially good, but they’re not especially good in any one place. They set a standard for themselves, and they meet it every time, not excelling or falling down in any song.

The biggest song on this album is actually the opener “Train Wreck”, where the best mix of everything comes about. The heavy guitars mesh with deft picking, a wailing harmonica, and electric organ to create a sound reminiscent of a tornado barreling down the Midwest. When Taylor’s vocals come in, she just tears everything up with a vocal performance that hits you like a shot in the back: unexpected and powerful.

“What a World” is a solid alt-country album. It reaches out and grabs your attention, then slowly lets go of it as the music winds on. It’s worth a listen, and even if female vocals in alt-country isn’t a new trend, it’s still pretty awesome.

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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