Playin’ in Time with the Deadbeat
Not for sporting events, hipster dinner parties, or finely choreographed marriage proposals, Slug Guts’ Playin’ in Time with the Deadbeats is a dirty and dastardly, rather unnerving exploration of the seamier side of town with snare drums like sheet metal, guitars like shards of broken glass, and saxophone played with a blood-filled throat. Vocalist James Dalgleish, meanwhile, mumbles with equal parts vim and vinegar, stagger and swagger in a barely decipherable dialect. Because, let’s face it, when you start to assemble the pieces — Aussie post-punk of feedtime and The Birthday Party, Iggy Pop and The Pogues, the band could not reach their full potential without a frontman like Dalgleish, who’s self-control is teetering at best. And yet, when the impulse hits, there are moments here to be cherished, yes cherished, like, the title track, a late night/early morning stroll, equal parts “Passenger” and “House of the Rising Sun,” with that sharpened snare in the front, moody bits of organ, and the saxophone bent on taunting Dalgleish’s tortured howl at every step; “Old Black Sweats,” and its street-corner blues melody; And, “Adult Living,” whose guitar could have come from an early Cure album, except its paired with cymbal hits as unpredictable as drive-by gunfire. 7 out of 10 on The Rockometer.