Sluka – ‘Introversions’ (Steel Flower Music)

Sluka – ‘Introversions’ (Steel Flower Music)

The ‘80s era marked a period within music when spangly, pop songs were widely acceptable, but the infamous decade always seemed to draw just enough space for a berth of some serious introspection afterwards.  This seems to follow suit in San Diego-based solo artist, Christopher Sluka’s creative imaginings for his band, Sluka’s latest endeavor, Introversions.  The keyboards, guitar riffs and synths all make these tracks instinctively ‘80s.  And with the noted use of technology in the sound, there is also the listless, abandon and carefree spirit to the vocals that makes one recall of that musical epoch in time.

Introversions opens up with the track, “Valentine Lies,” which is a distinctly emotive track with electronic beats and filled with other rummaging sounds that consist of knocks, clonks and even the ticking of the clock.  The melting vocals, here, sinks right into the melody.  As stated, there is a ‘80s presence to the music that is presented in a soaring and promising way.  The impassioned vocals that are backed by Sluka on keyboard, drums, guitar and bass, unfolds as slightly pensive while worshipful at the same time.

“A San Diego Zoo” starts out with the opening notes of the flute playing. The catchy tune aptly captures the happy approach to the music. The instrument seems to perfectly describe a special day out on an excursion. Every new introduction to a musical instrument strings along a different perspective to the music. Listeners will be struck by the innocence of the song. Although the track lands on alternating planes of thoughts, the song mostly mentions a particular landmark, the San Diego Zoo, and the instruments perfectly personify the trip there. In “Sunday’s Child,” there is an uncanny vibe as the retrospective feel here is emphasized through the reverb-filled instrumentals. The sailing digital and noted use of technology here provides for a carefree and spirited sound. Listeners may get lost in the pacing and sprawling guitar riffs as the song slowly fades out toward the end.

“Paralyzed” makes for more of a sparse approach to the music, though the acoustic sound with its upbeat quality makes for a dance-worthy tune. The alluring and dreamy, tender stance to the track as Sluka belts out his feelings in a similar fashion to The Killers or David Bowie, gets realized towards the end. The acoustic guitar is accompanied by the sonic sounds of technology throughout the track as electronic music once again jumps to the forefront of Introversions. In “Doctor Strangelove,” the track starts out with the drums, as the musical instrument lays out the pacing of the song. This is a strange and delightful track with interplays of the guitar briefly playing and the vocals acting as antagonistic and then, surprisingly, both just straight up jamming together. This provides for an electric sound that engulfs the song. Listeners, who enjoy this track will be locked in by the music and will probably be putting this song on repeat.

Some of the songs on Introversions are pretty, some are violent, while some are about phobias. Towards “Severed,” we get an eerie and haunting track with some hushed sensibilities. The Halloween-feel is fueled by Sluka’s intention to elicit a spooky quality to the track. All these pieces thrown together and we get the full effect of the band’s sound. “Fear Of Ordinary Life,” has a lingering, Beatle-esque feel that is engaging and catchy at the same time. The track springs into full effect with the sounds of reverb. Listeners will be reeled in by the symphonic overtones that are overall lush and distinct.

In “Hung,” we again see some more acoustic guitar being featured. Listeners will be struck by the strength of the track as the song showcases Sluka humming and repeatedly sings the title over and over again. The melodious tones are complemented by the catchy vibe that runs throughout the gamut of the variations of this word. The song is also willowy and wistful while soaked in warm and nostalgic tones. The humming under the breath is a strong device that gets utilized in this track very well. In the final song, “Gothic Cavalier,” the song starts out with the tolling of church bells. The heavy harmonies on this track are breathy and follow a great beat.

The songs on Introversions are melodic and yet some prove to sustain an upbeat tone, but overall these tracks are all electric and could even be described as eclectic. Some of these tracks shift from a catchy sound to a sobering low-keyed layered harmony and yet there are no fillers on this album. Each of the songs on this album are uniquely woven together from Sluka’s travels while abroad during his childhood and while touring and recording his multiple projects. The landscapes from his broad travels are juxtaposed onto his justly soaring and free-spirited album. These indispensable tracks are the essence of towering, weighty works and Sluka’s oftentimes clandestine vocals brings you closer to home to the show-stopping performances that the artist is also known for world-wide.

If listeners are hungry for more, here is a list of what is to come from the enigmatic, gothic band: Sluka is grinding together a multi-media filled project as he continues to film a music video for all 13 tracks on the album. The music videos will be compiled together on a Blu Ray release of Introversions due this November. An upcoming European club tour is also ensuing. 7.7/10

My Nguyen

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Sluka – ‘Introversions’ (Steel Flower Music)