Review on this page:
Slide is a first-rate young rock band from Cambridge - our Cambridge, not their Cambridge. A stripped-down four piece, its leader is singer/songwriter/guitarist Wolf Wortis. But the reason I'm reviewing them is their drummer, Ken Schopf, a professional colleague who moonlights as a Harvard paleontology student (some people will do anything to keep their music careers going). And probably the most distinctive thing about them is keyboardist/accordionist Suzi Lee, who lends an unexpected zydeco flavor to some of the material. They rock out, and even better, they remind me of Slack, my favorite college band from the mid-80s (I'm talking Portland, Oregon, here). Slide now has a second CD out, but I haven't found it yet, so there's not much more I can add to this page at the moment.
Slide is real a 90s kind of an act - they not only have an e-mail address, but their own ever-so-slightly-self-congratulatory web site. Plus there's the regular snail mail address (P.O. Box 1359, Cambridge, MA 02142) and phone (617 628-7291). I'm sure they'd be glad to hear from some fans - or prospective fans.
Fane (bass); Suzi Lee (keyboards, accordion); Ken Schopf (drums); Wolf Wortis (guitar, lead vocals).
Forgiving Buckner (1996)
This is most surely a low-tech debut - recorded entirely in one day, and featuring minimal overdubs. But the band sounds good anyway: all the songs are fully worked out and enjoyable, the performances are tight and virtually flawless, the lyrics are interesting, and there are loads of catchy hooks and chant-along refrains. Many of the tracks would make fine A sides ("Rise Up"; "Crossed Up") - is it too much to hope that "alternative" radio will give them airplay? And although the band usually rocks out, they can pull off sweet ballads as well ("Summer Of Eighty-Three"). The down side is that this being 1996, Slide tends towards a perhaps overly minimalistic grunge sound. Funky bass lines, head-banging rhythm guitars, surprising dynamics, and earnest lead vocals are in. Elaborate guitar solos, complicated vocal harmonies, and jamming are out (Wortis does let loose on "Hole"). Add to this formula Lee's accordion and boogie-woogie/haunted house keyboard parts to liven things up, and a strong Stones influence ("Cool Papa Bell") to guarantee a good beat (Ken really kicks butt, just like Charlie Watts). It mostly works, but not surprisingly Wolfram's voice seems to tire on some of the high notes - he sometimes approximates that crazy Sly Stone megaphone effect. In sum, this is the kind of record I wish I could have done. (JA)