Posted: Thursday, October 22, 2009
By: Ilker Yücel
Slick Idiot progresses further into stylistic schizophrenia with a helping of musical diversity that may prove to be the band's best release yet.
Since the formation of Slick Idiot in 2000 after the dissolution of KMFDM, En Esch and Günter Schulz have spent the better part of the decade carving out their own little niche in the underground music market. Free from the constraints of their previous band, Slick Idiot afforded them plenty of opportunities to pursue other musical avenues, incorporating avant-garde flights of fancy into their own twisted brand of techno-driven industrial rock, yet still retaining those signature elements that many still miss from KMFDM - Schulz's versatile and technical fretwork and En Esch's gritty and sexually charged vocals.
As the third album proper, Sucksess sees Slick Idiot progressing even further into its own unique musical corner. After the low key and slightly Middle Eastern intro of "Imago," "I.I.W.I.I." kicks us into high gear with throbbing beats and Schulz's signature riffs, with Esch and Erica Dilanjian vocally trading off in fine form with a healthy balance of aggression and melody. With the following track, "Daydreams," the listener is immediately thrown for a loop as Mark Durante's steel guitar reminiscent of a Hawaiian beach resort and past collaborator Trixie Reiss' gravity-defying screeches blast us into an upbeat romp of bouncy rock & roll. Already, the listener can discern that the rest of Sucksess is going to be an almost schizophrenic affair with no two tracks sounding remotely similar. From the pulsating drum & bass styling of "Last Kiss" to the funky techno of "Ill Prepared," the latter song bearing some resemblance to the WaxTrax! era, to the abstract industrial noise of "Haller," and onto the lax and somewhat spiritually crazed "Inshallah," there is a cornucopia of musical variety at play on this album, more so than on past Slick Idiot releases. We're even treated to some good old-fashioned disco as the band faithfully covers Hot Chocolate's "Everyone's a Winner" in its own inimitable sleazy yet enticing manner.
Credit must be given to the band members - Esch, Schulz, Dilanjian, and live drummer Gregg Ziemba - as each, according to the liners, contributed to the programming, perhaps accounting for the wide range of modes and arrangements at play, making it difficult to become accustomed to or even bored by the album. Sucksess is perhaps Slick Idiot's most musically diverse release yet, all the while maintaining a consistency of vibe and attitude distinct to no other band. The album title is perhaps tongue-in-cheek as Esch and Schulz continue to struggle as any other smaller band with its own label in the modern era, with issues of distribution and promotion coming into play. With the initial release of Sucksess being exclusively sold to individuals attending the 2009 In the Flesh tour, we can only hope to see this album made available commercially soon.