Brilliant, Substantial, Sophisticated Song-Writing Extravaganza
Doug Harrison of Canadian progressive rock/ metal outfit FEN (Facebook), has presented via his project “Slug Comparison” what to these ears is a masterpiece of an album- heart-wrenching, taut, lyrically superior, filled with the ironies and contradictions of living life as a feeling, thinking person, in which music every note, every nuance, every guitar line, every word is necessary and required.
It’s Been a Long Time
A long time, that is, since I’ve encountered the kind of essential, honest, genuine artistry on display here. We are not swept away by a blizzard of notes from a wizard of musicianship. Rather we are presented with a lovely, ever- unfolding richness of spiritual search, struggle, and depth.
Whether it’s the reflections on the creative process that feeds and enflames the introverted, creative spirit, or the incredulous gasp of wrenching loss with the attendant desperate grasp to make sense of any one particle of that loss, there are subtleties and enormities of expression that make us delve into our own experiences that have touched or shaped us.
Not a note is wasted, nor a nuance spared. Thoughtfulness of arrangement, melody, rhythm, and timing are brought into perfect balance. There are the rocking moments in which one might stand and dance, and aching moments one must sit and let the tears flow.
For me, particularly the title track and “Thoughts” clearly demonstrate these traits- yet all tracks have hidden treasures. There is the spine-tingling falsetto in “Fine With It”, the sparkling guitar lines in “One More Step”, or the slightly fractured joy of “Let Some Light”.
Lyrics and music are welded into an unbreakable whole. I found myself captivated by this turn of phrase, or that reference wrapped in just enough poetic imagery to make it suggesting yet mysterious.
Without writing a treatise on the spiritual, emotional, psychological references and reverberations of Doug’s lyrics, let it be enough to say here are lyrics, here is music that can be listened to and learned from and appreciated many times over.
Superb. My only quibble is the name, Slug Comparison. It seems the antithesis of what lies within.
1. exactly what to do 3:59
2. hyperslump 4:10
3. let some light 4:21
4. fine with it 3:54
5. thoughts 4:58
6. when you were living here 5:40
7. becoming 3:43
8. so ya got a great guitar 3:38
9. hold of you 4:31
10. beings far away 5:47
11. purple monkey 3:06
12. one more step 4:23
Randall Stoll: drums on tracks 1-3, 5, 7 and 8
Sam Levin: all guitars on tracks 1, 3 and 7; leads on track 12; string arrangements
Jeff Caron: bass on tracks 2, 5, 8, and 12
Mike Young: bass on tracks 1, 3, 6, 7, 9 and 10; programming on tracks 6, 9 and 10
Dave Young: programming on tracks 6, 9 and 10
Rod Senft: drums on track 12
Scott Young: bass on track 4
Doug Harrison: lyrics; vocals; guitar on tracks 2, 4-6, 8-12; piano on track 12; string arrangements; programming on tracks 1, 3, 6, 9 and 10
Album release date: January 16, 2019