Slash - Slash

2010-10-29 06:57

It's always tough to get teeth into an all-star album, and as far as all-stars go, you don't get more starry-eyed than on Slash's solo debut. Even better is that the songs seems to be actual collaborations, with Slash himself sharing writing credits with the respective guests: Astbury, Ozzy, Fergie, Cornell, Stockdale, Kid Rock, and the list goes on.

So at first glance, at least it's not some producer-driven mash up – should be A+ right? It should be, but the truth is that the album only occasionally blitzes. It's not that any of it is particularly poor – excepting perhaps Adam 'Maroon 5' Levine's entry "Gotten" – in fact quite the opposite.

What they've gone for here is a well put-together, crisply produced album of fairly high production values. Everything sounds fantastic. Which is, at least from one point of view, a mistake.

Astbury (The Cult), Lemmy (Motorhead), Ozzy (Black Sabbath), Iggy (Stooges) – hell, even Slash himself made their names on raw, energetic, "unpolished" rock albums. Their seminal works are dynamic, noisy, jumpy and not friendly to cheap speakers.

So while finding everything perfectly mixed and balanced may be today's standard, it doesn't do much for that feeling like you're listening to an actual rock band. That said, when this record gets it right, it REALLY gets it right. "We're All Gonna Die" with Iggy Pop is one example – there’s more than a hint that somebody forgot to gate the amp noise on the guitars here.

Otherwise, Andrew Stockdale of Wolfmother provides the standout on "By The Sword", bizarrely channelling Ray Davies, Robert Plant and David Byron all at once (actually, the song is a bit of a Zeppelin rip, but not in a bad way). That's high praise on an album that kicks off with Ian Astbury in standard GOD-OF-ROCK form, and where even Fergie isn’t as bad a trainwreck as you’d expect.

And there's the problem. When you‘re hanging out with mostly rock legends, what the hell is Fergie doing on this album, sounding vaguely passable as a pseudo rock chick? Is it really too far fetched to suspect that a label requirement was to inject the record with some "c.o.m.m.e.r.c.i.a.l. v.a.l.u.e"? That’s so two thousand and late.

TIP: Next time, somebody needs to get Kravitz to produce the damn thing, cut any pretence at saleability (Levine, Fergie-licious, no offence), and earn five stars off the bat. "Slash" isn't that far off the mark.

If you gathered these folks in a room back in 1987, you'd be designated a World trouble hotspot by the UN security council. In 2010, maybe not so much. But then, if you’re old enough to remember 1987, your health insurance is probably thankful for that.

What to read next: Kalahari

@Slash Fan 2010/06/30 9:27 AM
@ Slash Fan - And something tells me you're really objective Slash Fan. Argue your counterpoint, or get a life.
Justin 2010/07/16 9:34 AM
  • Rating:
I've listened to this disc a couple of times now, both by myself and with fellow musicians. I'll tell you what - some of these songs are HUGE! This review is pretty spot on. Some of the songs are a bit weak, but some are monsters. And it does sound well produced and why not? This is 2010 after all! Yes, Slash has never been know as the cleanest player - so maybe some slick production gave us a slightly skewed idea of his abilities - but can anyone say AUTOTUNE? Vocalists do it all the time - I'm glad he has embraced technology and ditched Axel! Good review - great album!
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