I believe in live performance. I love seeing bands in person, up front and center stage to be able to get a sense of what people can do, and frankly, I’m looking for bands that can WOW me into wanting to listen to their recordings…
This is always how I’ve traditionally enjoyed music. When I was asked if I could write a review of an album, I initially didn’t want to do it. I’m a good person to talk to when it comes to the merits of captivating a crowd. (the crowd response will tell you what is a hit or miss)Listening to a record…totally different ballpark. But hey Couches are a great local band that I know plays well live, on a great local label (20 Sided Records), with great local lads, so why not hop in the proverbial ring and play ball…or something like that.
I know that many people are going to go through this 9 track record (there’s an intro/outro so really its 7 songs) and will tell you about “production quality” and different “panning techniques” to really engage the listener.
Others will like to go in and dissect lyrics… like the ones found in track 4, ‘Infatuation’: “its not a dream, its only make believe, you gotta let it go, you gotta lose control” and will go on some ramble about what those lyrics mean, how they fit the tonal quality of the song and provoke thoughts of what control could one possess while in a dream? Is the dream a lucid one? Do these questions matter?
I’m not that person. I’m not going to go in and decipher lyrics or recording techniques. What I’m going to do is tell you what it was like sitting down with the lights off, backlight on and nothing but me, a smoke, and some Couches. (Hey if I’m listening to “Slackin’ Since The 80s” I want to go to full slacken’ mode to get into it…)
The first 3 songs flow really well into each other. If you aren’t paying attention it might seem like Train of Thought, Thinkin’ About Money, and Infatuation are one big song with 3 different movements. It’s a good start to the record and definitely established the overall feeling “Slackin'” gives off. What is that feeling? It’s the same feeling you get when sitting around a campfire, having knocked a few back after a long day of hiking and someone is jamming on the guitar. Face grinning with a wide smile bobbing your head side to side gently, almost as if you’re nodding along in agreement “Yeah… I feel it”
And this feeling remains throughout the rest of the record. My favorite track came in the number 5 position and is called “It Ain’t Easy”. Some great guitar picking brings your attention around to notice this song is different then what I’ve heard before it. It’s a great groovin’ song. Which pairs really well with track 6 ‘Don’t Slay The Dreamers”. This song is vintage Couches. Something that I love about this band is their sound. (Yeah yeah yeah, I know every band should have their own sound, and many do. I happen to like the sound Couches puts out) It’s very liquid metal, smooth, but with some weight to it.
Track 7 “Radio Life” is probably my second favorite track off the album. It’s right up there, and again keeps the mellow groove in motion. The drums decide to step out and shine on this one. Great beat throughout the verses and are nice and appropriate during the chorus’. Shout out to the bass on this one too, as the more you listen to this song, you see just how tightly knit the drums and bass are wound. It’s great! The final song is called “Mental Stimulation” and is the perfect ending to round out this record.
If you listen to this record as a whole piece, (AND YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO THIS RECORD AS A FULL PIECE) it starts you off with a vibe that consistently remains throughout the record while changes just enough to like you go on a gentle listening ride. They got the name of this one right as “Slackin’ Since the 80s” seems to perfectly describe the feeling of this record. do yourself a treat the next time you have half an hour or a nice drive/bus ride and put this on, sit back and let Couches take you on a comfy ride.
PS… BIG thank you to David for everything.