Slug Guts, Playin’ in Time With the Deadbeat

Mike Wolf

By Mike Wolf

on 07.25.12 in Reviews
Nailing their own nocturnal, funhouse-mirror style of grimy underground rock

Brisbane sextet Slug Guts are spiritual descendants from decades of gritty, grimy and desperate Australian underground rock, starting with (most notoriously) the Birthday Party but including such demented outfits as the Scientists, Bloodloss and Feedtime. Each of their antecedents had an idiosyncratic way of warping the blues, and Slug Guts have nailed their own nocturnal, funhouse-mirror style on their third album. Pitched between the brittle, glassy guitars of co-founder Jimi Kritzler and the swinging rumble of the rhythm section is vocalist James Dalgleish, who veers between a zombiefied, haven’t-slept-for-days croon and a menacing, nerve-tweaking growl. Playin’ in Time With the Deadbeat can feel claustrophobic at times — with song titles like “Scum,” “Suckin’ Down” and “Stranglin’ You Too,” the vibe is unrelenting — but the sharp production balances the glowing, vibrant guitars against a stark, spacious backdrop. “Moving Heat” saunters hypnotically, a three-note sax figure haunting its latter half, while a cover of Public Image’s “Order of Death” seethes in an orgy of metal percussion, serrated six-strings and stylish tension. Whether you’re up at night living recklessly or beset by demons, Slug Guts can see you through till dawn.