"Too much so-called psych-punk or acid-punk or whatever boils down sonically to some efx added to a familiar punk/rock format. I’m sorry, but that doesn’t qualify to my ears. On the other hand, this Slump band from Richmond, Virginia, ranks high. Very high. (And so am I.) They’ve been around for about four years now, with the current lineup of Will Fennessey (bass), Tony Nowotarski (Moog/guitar), Nick Yetka (drums), and Suspicious Sonny (vocals/guitar). They self-released a single in 2016 that kinda reminds me of the NYC HC band Kaleidoscope, except there are prominent electronics. They also released an excellent split EP (with True Body) that found them expanding the songs into longer chunks that allow for more freedom to move.
And that brings us to their debut LP. Slump has retained the hardcore and sludge, but it would be hard to convince some people that this is punk-rock at all. (It is! And it isn’t!) Let’s mention Hawkwind. The UK space-rock group has become a template for riff-heavy acid-eaters over the past 40 years, and Slump is certainly in that line. It all opens with a riff that resembles the MC5’s “Black to Comm” and quickly descends/ascends into the dirty sky above beneath inside outside us all. Don’t expect an easy ride—this is gonna be a bumpy but very worthwhile trip. “No Utopia”? There’s a sane slogan for modern America. Whatever explicit message (?) may lie here is buried in volume and psychedelic mud. The hardcore urge beats the messenger to death again. I think that’s a good thing myself. Evolve, baby—evolve! Things ROCK on “(Do the) Sonic Sprawl”—conjures up visions of Philip K. Dick and 1980s Sonic Youth and some sorta (r)evolution (no Utopia!). “Throbbing Reverberation” is the shortest track and another rockin’ jam. The title gives a strong clue. Forward-thinking metal fans should dig this. Imagine Voivod with a LOT of noise in the mix.
Then things seem to get even darker. “Desire Death Drifter” comes on like 90s Japanese psych rockers White Heaven. And dig that space gurgle. Killer. I think this might be the “hit”! “Electric Dissent” is a militant acid stomp that sounds like a more condensed version of Hawkwind’s “Brainstorm.” At six minutes, “Sensory Cocoon” still manages to be one of the more rippin’ things here—a DMT cannonball hurled through punkspace. “Tension Trance” is another long-ish rocker—great heavy riffs pushing harder and harder into the cosmic slop. It all closes in heavy fashion with “Trip Sitter,” a slow-burnin’ churner that splits apart about halfway through to reveal pure electronic swirl—before the rock rudely interrupts again. Hope ya dig a little bitter in yer sweet. That’s life, man. Killer diller—no filler! Gimme that heavy stoned slouch—gimme some Slump!" —Eddie Flowers, Vulcher/Gizmos/WLSD
First pressing black vinyl edition of 325 copies. Shrinkwrapped with 11"x17" risograph insert, hype sticker, and download code.
Our take: Debut full-length from this Richmond band that combines heavy punk/grunge with Hawkwind’s acid-fried space rock. You won’t find catchy choruses or pop melodies on Flashbacks from Black Dust Country, but an M.C. Escher-esque maze of swampy riffs that woven through with layers of reverb and echo-drenched guitar and synth noise, punctuated by the occasional shouted vocal. Slump reminds me a lot of Destruction Unit; like that band, their sound has a density informed by 90s noise rock. Slump doesn’t make big, dramatic gestures, instead exploring the nuances of timbre and texture with a tinkerer’s patience and attention to detail. Flashbacks… is a slow burn, but with its big, clear sound and layered textures, it’s easy to get lost in it.