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Album Review

Jam band the Slip chose their 2006 release Eisenhower to show that they're capable of stepping outside the boundaries of hippie-hash college music, and maybe they shouldn't have. The disc shows the band cunningly embracing alt pop conventions almost completely one moment, and becoming lost in a quagmire of their own wanderings the next. A few tracks, like "Even Rats," leave the Slip's roots behind altogether and embrace an indie rock sound almost completely — and with great success. A handful of others plod headlong into the group's jamming past, like the eight-minute opus "Paper Birds," a rambling monument of improvisation with barely a discernible refrain. Most of the songs on the album are built on a musical idea of melding these two genres. The group does not always achieve this hybridization very gracefully, as on "Suffocation Keep," where a perfectly nice, spacy ballad gets stretched into mopey, sad-bastard music. The formula works on the majority of the songs, however, where the jamming style brings something distinctly nonlinear to the traditional pop song format, creating something delightfully unconventional and unique. The tone of these tracks avoids silliness or kitsch — even when singer Brad Barr careens into flying falsetto — but it never really feels serious or self-important, either. This brand of laid-back, often danceable rock holds steady at a level of emotion that never steps within ten feet of emo; the music's expressiveness, though far from cold, lies in an intimate and cerebral space rather than a cathartic one. This sound shares a stage with everybody from Phoenix and Under the Influence of Giants to Coldplay and My Bloody Valentine. The Slip's experiment in absorbing these poppy influences is basically a success, at best providing a pensive, emotive soundtrack to a quiet day and at worst, making you want to listen to Phoenix or Coldplay.


Formed: Boston, MA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The Slip began their career firmly entrenched in the jam band scene, but as time passed, members changed, and tastes within the group shifted, they evolved into a guitar-heavy indie rock band. Founded in the early '90s at the Tabor Academy, a New England boarding school, the Slip originated as a classic rock cover band featuring the Barr brothers: Brad Barr on guitar and vocals and Andrew Barr on drums and percussion, as well as guitarist Jon Myers. After Brad's graduation in 1995, Andrew met up...
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Eisenhower, The Slip
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