A drawing of a VW van parked next a pair of palm trees at sunset adorns the cover of Slackstring's debut, a release that perfectly captures that late afternoon beach front malaise. It is the precise soundtrack for anyone opening a beer or burning one down when the work of it all is finally being set down for the day. Full of warmly wistful acoustic ditties, the whole album feels comfortable from the first listen.
There's a directness that's refreshing. The music hasn't been fussed with too much and the rough edges make it all the more dear to me in an industry increasingly obsessed with polish. A couple of instrumentals complicate things nicely and in their more tender moments Slackstring remind one of the bedroom pop of Elliott Smith's Either/Or.
At just a shade over a half-hour it's one of those perfect records to put a wedge between you and the rest of your day. Like The Replacements' Let It Be or Nick Drake's Pink Moon, both classic half hour corkers, it lets us grieve the workaday disappointments and makes us guardedly hopeful for what tomorrow might bring.
JamBase - San Francisco
[Published on 12/9/2002]