Sunday, September 17, 2006

It's a Family Affair

The Slits, Revenge of the Killer Slits EP, S.A.F.

Reforming a legendary band 25 years after the fact is rarely a wise idea. So, I'm pleased to report that this three-song release is actually pretty good. Considering the terrible things I've heard about Ari Up's recent live "performances" (and I use that term loosely), the music is better than I had any right to expect.

First of all, vocalist Up [second from left] and bass player Tessa Pollit [third from left]--Palmolive and Viv Albertine are missing from the current line-up--may have gotten older, but they haven't grown up. Thank God. The spirited tunes sound like a mash-up between the original Slits, the Sex Pistols, and Bikini Kill, one of the many riot grrrl outfits who took inspiration from the quartet.

Just as the Slits had ties to the Pistols (and the Clash) back in the day, those ties continue as the disc features Paul Cook on programming, along with his daughter, Holly, and Steve Jones's daughter, Lauren, on backing vocals. Further, the dedication reads: This is for Sean, Nils, Joe, Sid...RIP.

Here's a quick run-down of the songs: "Slits Tradition" is a haunting hip-hop number that sounds a little like punked-up MIA, "Number One Enemy" revisits the band's raw late-1970s sound, and the enchanting "Kill Them With Love" returns to territory Up explored with the On-U Sound posse back in the 1980s, specifically the New Age Steppers (see the epic "Fade Away"). It combines her distinctively warbly approach to rapping with dubbed-out, double-time rhythms.

Whether this new version of the Slits, which includes Marco Perroni (Adam and the Ants) on drums, could produce an entire album of this quality, I can't say. And it's a moot point as the press release states, "This is a one off recording from a Slits line-up that will never be repeated again." All I know is that these three numbers--short and sweet as they are--do the Slits legacy proud.

Note: Images from Women of 1970s Punk. Click here for my review of Cut and here for Slits tour dates. This is my 100th post.

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