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Slow Motion Reign: Slow Motion Reign

Sometimes it really pays to give an album several spins before passing judgment. Take Slow Motion Reign's full-length debut for instance. The promotional materials promise "space rock" and after listening to the first two cuts, I was starting to feel cheated by false advertising. Expecting something more akin to Hawkwind or Ozric Tentacles, I was surprised to be hearing modern college rock. But given time, Slow Motion Reign's strengths began to rise to the surface: namely, a knack for dynamic contrasts and layered textures, which simply are a rarity in mainstream rock bands these days.

Granted, "Twilight Skylight" contains rapped verses and "Isn't it Time (Rats)" is kind of poppy and features a chorus that doesn't quite resonate with me. Even the more adventurous "Embryonic" failed to impress on first listen. Perhaps the band decided to get their commercial tunes out of the way early in the album because something interesting began to happen. By the middle of the album, I was comparing the band with Arthur Lee's Love. Like Forever Changes, the self-titled debut from Slow Motion Reign is a "grower" that requires active listening due to its shimmering production and songs that manage to be simultaneously hopeful and despairing. Tasteful guitar and keyboard arrangements abound in the moody "Shiny Days" which in turn segues into the lovely "Habits" while "No Way, No How" features fantastic and entirely unexpected female vocal contributions from Azam Ali.

Lyrically, "Life Simulator" and indeed much of the album laments the superficiality of modern life and the irony that is humanity's failure to communicate despite the technological toys bringing us closer together. But Slow Motion Reign is not all gloom and doom. "Silent Movie" is a lush erotic love song featuring great imagistic lyrics: "when we arrived/the place where land met sea/the ocean wide/spilled like a cup of tea/in the morning hours".

The band were evidently discovered by System of a Down's Serj Tankian, who was so taken by the music of Slow Motion Reign that he signed them to his own label and agreed to fulfill production duties. Perhaps he saw vocalist/bassist/songwriter Narek Pgogsyan's potential to be this generation's Arthur Lee. While comparisons can be made to Love, The Beatles and even Tears for Fears, Slow Motion Reign are no retro-rock outfit but a new band forging ahead with remarkable creativity and expert song craft. That this is only the band's first full-length release bodes well for their future.

Track Listing

  1. Twilight Skylight
  2. Isn't it Time (Rats)
  3. Embryonic
  4. Via Satellite
  5. Shining Days
  6. Habits
  7. No Way, No How
  8. Stay Awake
  9. Life Simulator
  10. Sea of Separation
  11. Silent Movie
  12. Space

Added: July 25th 2006
Reviewer: Steve Pettengill
Score:
Related Link: Official Slow Motion Reign Page
Hits: 1749
Language: english

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