Where have all the great rock and roll bands gone?
In recent years, it seems that there are fewer and fewer artists who can approximate the roar and fervor of rock bands from the ‘60s and ‘70s. We’re either offered some watered-down version of the genre or a shameful simulation that never rises above the level of mimicry. Oftentimes, volume is mistaken for authenticity, and the music irrevocably suffers from this misinterpretation. However, there are a handful of bands who do seem to possess a curious knack for filtering and adapting classic rock and roll tropes into something that resonates personally with audiences in 2019 without sacrificing the legitimacy of their influences.
Chattanooga rock outfit Sleazy Sleazy are among those whose work is able to incorporate rock and roll familiarities into something redolent of their inspirations but also wholly unique in its approach and execution. Their new EP, “Greatest Hits, Vol. 1,” is a 3-track collection that further cements their position as a band capable of adjusting their manic rock impulses in such a way as to evoke bands from across multiple decades and different musical histories. Gritty and ragged but not without a sense of pop buoyancy, these songs feel indebted but not beholden to their rock ancestors.
Opener “Between the Lines” blends the serpentine rock rhythms of Violent Femmes with the ragged guitar theatrics of Arctic Monkeys and doesn’t forget to dabble in some little pop-centric movements. It’s a modern interpretation of classic rock mannerisms which never forgets its roots. The band doubles down on the pop influence with “On the Freeway,” a song that rumbles and deftly shifts our assumptions about the ways in which they command and dismantle these specific sounds. Closing with “You Don’t Need,” they light up the amps, digging deep into hard rock’s melodic core to channel the ‘70s and ‘80s in a swirl of whiplash riffs and super-charged vocals.
This EP bears the mark of a band comfortable in their ability to subvert expectations and to rewire the way their audience reacts to these particular sounds. Rock’s amplitude, pop’s flexibility and just a bit of post-punk’s angularity are thrown together to create a fascinating brew of homespun electricity and melody. They take these familiar rhythmic lineages and rewrite their DNA, building a bigger and more muscular soundscapes in the process. If you’re looking for rock and roll that’ll make you sweat and probably cause some measure of bodily injury (you’re going to be headbanging and dancing like a maniac after all), then Sleazy Sleazy has got you covered.