|Slick, Julie: Julie Slick
Posted by Alex Torres, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-07-22 11:58:12
Bassist Julie Slick has produced an enjoyable, all-instrumental debut album of punchy, mainly up-tempo, short pieces during which, perhaps not surprisingly, rhythm is the main ingredient of focus.
Slick has a strong pedigree in the progressive rock world. She plays with her brother Eric (who also plays drums on this album) in the Adrian Belew Power Trio and over her career has played with luminaries such as Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam), Stewart Copeland (The Police), Jon Anderson (Yes), Ann Wilson (Heart) and Alice Cooper.
Other than her brother Eric, who plays guitar and keys as well as drums, the guest musicians on her debut album are Brian Davis, Matt Rothstein, Andre Cholmondley, Alex Schmidt and Jordan del Rosario (guitars), Jon Braun (sax), Marco Minneman (drums), Michael Bernier (Chapman Stick) and Pat Mastelotto (drums and production on "Aphrodite"), as well as featuring samples from Robert Fripp tracks on three compositions, as identified in the track listing below.
The over-riding musical prevalence on this eponymously titled debut is for rhythmic pieces, at a good tempo, that would often have the capability of being transformed into dance/club music. There is some development within pieces, but not a great amount; with only "Nothing to be Done" and "Shadow Trip" making it past four minutes. "Mela" is the jazziest of the rhythm dominated compositions; "Mora" the most mantric; elsewhere there are plenty of catchy, foot-tapping, danceable moments, with some thumping bass and Chapman Stick on occasion.
The four exceptions to the "rhythm at pace" rule are "February" (pretty and melodious with some gentle piano sounds from Eric Slick), "Nothing to be Done" (melodious), "spice Trade" (melodious) and the final track "Blood Blisters" (rhythmic, but slower and more wistful).
Overall, whilst the music is always pleasant, I did feel that vocals would have added much to these compositions: the voiceover on "Mora" the only time that the human instrument is used, and not particularly effectively at that. Without the vocals, the compositions sounded somewhat like samples, like work in progress, like a demonstration of capabilities. So, good, not brilliant.