Slander Tongue – S/T (Slovenly)

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Slander Tongue are a product of 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’s debut album. 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: just how do they expect to compete with the amazing body of work those bands already 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 sweaty hoot, but no matter how many James Williamson 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 to listen to this album when you can just give Raw Power or L.A.M.F. another spin. Closing the album with a trio of culinary-inspired song titles (“Salmon Skies”, “Chicken” and “Wine Valley”) is an interesting touch though.