For those who are unfamiliar with the legacy that Starflyer 59 has left behind, Jason Martin has lead the genre-bending, Riverside-based rock group since 1993. Martin first made waves among music lovers for his unique take on shoegaze, a genre that was being popularized in certain circles by the Irish rock band My Bloody Valentine. Managing to stand out among numerous copycats by allowing their own artistic vision to pierce through and innovate the scene, the beloved rock group looked towards setting up camp among a more indie-rock approach in the vein of the Smiths, as seen on albums like The Fashion Focus. Although the Tooth and Nail label had been distributing much of Martin's material for years up to that point, the two eventually called it quits, leaving 2013's crowdfunded IAMACEO to be the first independently released album under the Starflyer 59 name.
Three years later and here we are, the threading point of Slow and what could be a huge indicator of Jason's remaining potential after 14 studio albums and numerous EPs. Fans can rest assured that the high quality of Martin's music has not diminished in any way at all. Every instrument and note has been professionally executed and captured with production that will easily please anyone who has been following this band while gathering new recruits with an ear for detail.
What's more, some tracks even see the return of Martin's more heavier side. "Runaround" and "Hi Low" especially make use of a grittier, distortion-reliant groove that nod towards their roots while the title track and "Wrongtime" dish us flavors we've come to grow attached to from the softer side of Jason.
Lyrically, most of the themes on Slow deal with nostalgia, the confrontation of the passing of time, and family. I won't go into detail as the content is pretty straight-forward in terms of delivery, but I will say that it's refreshing to see an artist allow their audience to see a bit into their life and the perspective they've adopted.
I wish I could say something bad about this album, I truly do. A critic's job is not to indulge in the interest of the artist or their fans but for the art itself, yet Slow makes no fault at all. It's not solely dependent on one side of Starflyer 59's many colorful faces, but rather, it allows us to see them all with balance. Sure, it doesn't reinvent the band to catapult them into the glory days of their metallic albums, but it does well what it sought out to do. In a time where indie rock is stagnating compared to the growth it saw in the first decade of the millennium, Martin reminds me that not only is there hope for the genre, but more importantly, for Starflyer 59 itself.- Review date: 6/19/16, written by Bersain Beristain of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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