Just in time for Lake Erie surfing season, Slug Fest releases their second full length album Animal. This album expertly stays between the pitfalls of going too far out of one’s wheelhouse and basically releasing your first album twice.
Animal is a long shot from a quarantine effort. The band has been playing at least five of Animal’s eight tracks live since Slug Fest’s last album, Eva and the Curse of the Roaming Hand, was released. The approach for the new album was much different than the previous effort. Where Eva is a coherent story throughout, Animal feels more like a collection of singles.
“We know what Slug Fest sounds like now,” Guitarist and Lead Vocalist Michael Stanis explains. “We wanted to make sure every song is it’s own thing and that they all kill.”
Wasting no time on the killing, Animal opens up with some signature Slug Fest surf punk on “Never Be Your Baby.” This track serves as a proper goodbye to Eva and an electric hello to Animal, encapsulating all the surf of the first album in the intro before sliding into this album’s more garage oriented sound.
“I think between the first demos we did, the first album, and this, we have hit a lot of genres that we love and we love to play,” Drummer Michael “Lucky” Luciano explains. “Garage is a big part of us.”
“This album isn’t nearly as surfy, we wanted it to be big, loud songs we love to play live,” Stanis adds – not that surfy for Slug Fest is much more surfy than pretty much every other band.
Slug Fest is no exception to the certifiably bogus reality that all bands, and people, are facing right now. “Not being able to play, and having an album come out kind of sucks,” Lucky shares. It sucks indeed, for everyone. Slug Fest is known for their ridiculously loud and high energy live shows. Without them, there will be a large gap to fill in the roll out of Animal.
Remaining the workhorses that they are, the band has cranked out two music videos in promotion of the album. The videos for both “Hangin’ from the Ceiling” and the second for “Surf Demon” were filmed on location without the help of green screen technology. Music videos are a new medium for the band, but as Stanis reminds us, “Cleveland has that attitude of, no one is going to come in and do this for you.”
There is some help on the way, however. Slug Fest was the fourth band signed to new Cleveland label Ear Hammer Records. Both band and label are putting in the time and effort needed to raise online attention in this whack-as-hell year, with more content than you can shake a reverb pedal at on the way.
While Animal is a departure from the band’s Dick Dale-meets-a-747-taking-off sound, it is still very obviously the Slug Fest we’ve all grown to love. The album closes with a couplet of sludgy psychedelic symphonies “Luce Absente” and “Luce Potentia.” At only eight tracks, Animal doesn’t take up too much of your time, but you’re going to want a cigarette after.
If you act fast, you can catch Slug Fest perform Animal at The Grog Shop on Dec. 3 with fellow Cleveland giants Punch Drunk Tagalongs. Reservations for Grog Shop shows are needed.
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Dave Sebille has worked for PressureLife since 2017, covering mostly local music news. Born and raised on the Westside of Cleveland, Dave has always been infatuated with the musical process and the people involved in it. With PressureLife, he is given the freedom to dive into the stories of Cleveland's most creative and prolific artists approach their productions. Dave is also one of the minds behind PressureFest, our annual music, comedy, and culture festival that showcases all genres of acts based on the quality of their material, not the amount of likes they have. Dave also host multiple Pressurelife videos and co-hosts a podcast about The Twilight Zone with colleague Robin Adam. Dave can be contacted through email at [email protected] or [email protected] or shoot him a message on FB messenger.