Close My Eyes (Bonus Track) (Jpn)


aec.epij478.2 1/19/05 New

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    Close My Eyes (Bonus Track) (Jpn) Sony Music Distribution

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Review Text The Slackers return with Close My Eyes, and it might be their most mature album yet. Whether that's a compliment or a slight depends on your opinion of ska, and if you say you don't have one, you're lying. Eyes mixes dub and ska rhythms with Vic Ruggiero's increasingly conventional songwriting, which can be really effective, as it is with the concise, soulful "Mommy." But sometimes the Slackers seem to slip in the integration department. The puttering, rocksteady-inspired groove of "Axes," for example, seems completely disconnected from Ruggiero's conventional (and clunky) vocals -- the track could have easily been an instrumental. And while the band's ruminations on 9/11 are no doubt inspired, "Real War" gets a bit uncomfortable when it begins pleading for racial equality from warmongering politicians. The sentiment is respectable, to be sure. But the track's by-the-numbers dub begins to work against it, mostly because it seems to rest on your perceptions of past reggae/dub protest songs. This is a persistent issue with the third wave and beyond, since the music is by design tradition-minded but still wants to push things forward like any functional band would. The Slackers may or may not have succeeded at achieving this balance, but they've likely made an album their established fan base will love, if nothing else. Close My Eyes is also perfectly recorded, aping the flat, splashy Studio One sound. This is especially apparent on the opening and closing instrumentals, as well as the light dub of "Lazy Woman." ~ Johnny Loftus

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