Slow Burning Car’s album, Vicarious Disclosures, closes with two songs so different from the ones that come before it, you may be tempted to check your streaming service to see if it might have continued with a different artist without you even knowing it. The band is listed as post punk, stylistically, but edgy progressive rock works much better as a genre descriptor. However, “Wasted Years” and “Rudderless Ship” are sincere, acoustic folk-rock offerings. This style differs markedly from the louder, sometimes snarkier tracks that come before it. It’s almost as though thew act needed to get all its nervous energy out of the way at the beginning, so it could slow it down and speak more plainly at the end.
This act is from Los Angeles, and features lead singer Troy Spiropoulos. The group has already released multiple albums, even though these releases haven’t seemed to gain too much commercial traction yet. Some of these tracks take on political/social topics. For example, “Cyanide Planes” addresses the controversial (conspiracy theoretical?) chem trails topic. The song has a sort of childlike, sing-song approach. It’s not clear which side the band falls on this issue. Maybe it’s just observational, and left for the listener to decide.
The album opens with “Shapeless Faceless,” which has a sort of Pink Floyd-like eerie moodiness to it. Spiropoulos sings it with a menacing tone in his voice. It, like many tracks on this 10-song set, also features Kim Clayborne on some of its lead and backing vocals. Then on “Crime Minister,” Spiropoulos vocalizes it by rolling his r’s, and gives it sort of Hitler-esque, German tone. One is left with the feeling this song is decidedly anti-government, in some respect or other.
One of the album’s biggest guitar song is “Hardtime Walking,” which Clayborne takes the lead on. This one leans strongly toward punk rock, as her vocals are angry, and the music is played fast and loud. Another one, “(One For) Subtlety” begins with the sound of someone scanning the radio dial, before it goes into another punkish rant. On it, Clayborne and Spiropoulos combine on the lead vocal. Although “Millionaire” begins with cricket sounds and harmonica coloring, it eventually revs up the groove. Its lyric references James Dean. It also sounds like a song that addresses greed.
“B.F.U,” another rocker, is led by Clayborne’s vocal. It’s listed in acronym form because the “F” in it is a potty word. Even though these two singers know how to sing rock and roll, one is left with the impression they also know how to sing well – even smoothly – if called upon to do so. This release, though, is mostly a hard rocking affair. Being from Los Angeles, where there is plenty of human stupidity all about, likely provides plenty of inspiration for these musicians. Southern California has been called the land of fruits and nuts, and mainly for good reason. With all its wealthy and famous, with too much time on their hands, it’s almost expected that these narcissists will find dumb things to fill their time. Slow Burning acts a little like a news reporters describing it all – with guitars.