Slicker: The Latest

The Latest

Okay, here’s the deal. Slicker is the alter ego of John Hughes III. Hughes is also the head of Hefty records and, yes, his father is that John Hughes, the Pope of Gen-X High School Movies. I only mention this because what’s uncomfortable about this review for me is the fact that my musical taste (such as it is, readers say to themselves) was shaped in some fashion by Hughes II and the bands he put on the soundtracks to his movies.

As Slicker, Hughes III makes alternately throbbing and ambient, deliberately dirty-sounding, gothic, computer- and sample-driven, dub-groovy, staticky, found-sound, lyric-less tracks with ping-ponging sound effects. Being on the verge of turning 30 as I write this, I find myself resisting the temptation to say this is not music, it’s just noise. So I’ll just say that the musical qualities are not readily apparent to my ears. This is minimalist to the point of losing the point; track after track settles into its groove and goes nowhere for so long it’s unconscionable.

Is it repetitious? Well, let me put it this way: While writing the above part of this review, I suddenly realized that I’d accidentally left my CD remote on “repeat” so it was repeating the first track…and I didn’t notice until the third time through.

I think I’ve said this before but it bears repeating: The very least I ask from music is that it move me, either physically or emotionally. I’ve heard The Latest, and it fails to do so. Slicker/Hughes does what he does very well and all, I suppose, but there’s a certain humanity missing.

It’s also possible-to-probable that part of the problem is the lack of headphones on my ears to listen to this music. Maybe the novelty effects and such sound cooler in that way. But this is supposition. What isn’t is that there’s nothing on the album that does much for me. What Hughes has made is the kind of album that succeeds on an intellectual level but fails on the simple get-people’s-heads-moving one. You listen and you say, “that’s interesting”, not “Fuck, yeah!” or “Oh, baby!” It all sounds like the sort of remix on which the vocals have been ditched, the beat has been sped up or slowed down or removed, and the key has been changed…in other words, the sort of “remix” that has been turned into a new song, looping its way along to nowhere.