Slander Tongue – S/T (Slovenly)

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Slander Tongue’s album is a product of a group in Berlin in 2020, but the heart and soul of their sound is transcontinentally split between American proto-punk and British pub-rock from the mid-’70s. Picture The Heartbreakers, Stooges, Flamin’ Groovies, Real Kids, Count Bishops, and Dr. Feelgood all jammed into a blender (along with a few shots of whiskey), and viola, out comes Slander Tongue. They don’t hide their influences either, opening the album with songs called “Soozie Stooge” and “Status Quo,” and yes, they’re exactly the mix of punk and pub-boogie their titles promise. While Slander Tongue’s influences are undeniably great, they also present the band with a real problem: how can they possibly compete with the amazing body of work those bands laid down more than forty years ago? Well, they can’t really. Sure each song is enjoyable, and I bet their live shows are a hoot, but no matter how many of James Williamson’s guitar moves they cop (and they cop a lot), Slander Tongue don’t have the white-hot intensity or distinct musical style of their influences. Without that thrilling x-factor, their music starts to sound same-y over eleven tracks, and ultimately I can’t think of any reason you’d ever  choose to listen to this album when you can just give Raw Power or L.A.M.F. another soul-satisfying spin. Closing the album with a trio of culinary-inspired song titles (“Salmon Skies,” “Chicken,” and “Wine Valley”) is an interesting touch though.