For over 20 years, the genre defying sounds of Slightly Stoopid have satisfied the West Coast and the world’s need for psychedelic, bluesy, soulful, rock with a heavy hint of island reggae. The bands newest album, Meanwhile… Back at the Lab finds its way to eclectic listeners at the end of June just days in advance of their summer tour, Everything is Awesome. Slightly Stoopid will take on the road and more than 40 cities with The Dirty Heads, The Expendables (select dates), and Stick Figure (select dates). Meanwhile… Back at the Lab is currently available for preorder on itunes here.
It has been nearly 3 years since the release of Top of The World that featured collaborations with various popular artists. Meanwhile…Back at the Lab is the 8th studio album and features artists such as Beardo on a heavy hitting punk rock track and Angela Hunte in a contrasting folksy song steeped in island Americana.
The album begins on a very funky note with the leading track, “Dabbington”. The driving rhythm, and groovy bass line are staples the group has used since its creation. The rifts the brass and sax players are assigned for this track are no walk in the park and the winds unapologetically LAY IT DOWN on this one.
The following tracks prove just how flexible Slightly Stoopid has become in their two decades of genre exploration. “This Version”, slowing down the tempo into a nice chill Dub, followed by the easy listening, embellished folk of “The Prophet”. Written by Miles Doughty at the young age of 16 in a collaboration with the late Bradley Nowell, this song is a fresh brother to Sublimes release of “Ain’t No Prophet” on the Everything Under The Sun rarities box set.
It isn’t until a few tracks into the album on, “Hold it Down”, and “Fades Away” that the band dives into the style of reggae they’ve become so well known for. The punk rock track mentioned earlier, “Fuck You” (feat. Beardo) is unique in that it is the only punk rock track on the album but in no way stands out. The dirty funk of “Time Won’t Wait” and the grungy blues of “Rolling Stone” make the fast pasted, distortion riddled rifts of the culture defying punk, fit right in. (How conformist of me to say, right?)
One of the more remarkable abilities of Slightly Stoopid is their ability to change and utilize their vocal techniques on a whim. I like how it’s often not the words that are the focal point. Rather the syllables that make up the words, creating a rhythmic masterpiece that no other instrument, human or not, can recreate. “Guns in Paradise” and “Come Around” are wonderful examples of the percussive instruments the human voice can be.
I found myself singing lines from “Some Call Me Crazy”. It’s a very well written love song that belongs on your ‘sure looks good to me’ playlist. It isn’t until a few lines of the hook that Angela Hunte starts singing the verse on “One Bright Day”, written by Kyle McDonald, and again shows how utilitarian the human voice is. McDonald has described the songs inception and Hunte’s involvement as:
"One Bright Day was a track we were just having fun playing the ukulele in our friend Jerry Wonder's studio (Platinum Studios NYC). We pressed ‘record’ and ended up tracking it. Our friend Angela Hunte, who is a very talented artist with an amazing voice, was in the studio hangin' with us and liked the song. (She) blessed it up with her beautiful voice and it was a wrap…. Good times hanging with good friends."
Meanwhile…Back at the Lab brings things to a close on the last two tracks. “Life Rolls On” features the brass again, this time with a wholesome, sweet melody that sweeps you right into “Whatever Your Friends Say”, the closing track. This new album from Slightly Stoopid is fantastic addition to their existing library of music. Be sure to check them out on their Summer 2015 tour, Everything is Awesome, at a venue near you!