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Slick Shoes: Far From Nowhere

Jason Thompson

Slick Shoes

Far from Nowhere

Label: Side One Dummy
US Release Date: 2003-07-08
UK Release Date: 2003-07-21

See that title up there? That's what you're going to hear when you listen to this album. That same old bash-bash-bash rhythm churned out countless times by every living, breathing so-called "punk" band out there today. If I had a nickel for every one of these bands... yeah, you know the story. We'd all be rich by now. Very, very rich. Because pop-punk (and that's all it is; don't ever try to tell me any of these groups are the real deal) bands are clogging up the airwaves far too much anymore. Especially these types of pop-punk bands like Slick Shoes that dabble in the emo side of things as well.

Two bad tastes that seem to equal dollars for record labels. Emo and pop-punk. And here we are with Slick Shoes featuring another guy singing high and semi-melodically in his youngish voice about the perils of life and all its woe-is-us frustrations over that goddamn bash-bash rhythm that never gets old no matter how many bands have stomped it into the ground. These guys are such musical geniuses! Completely lifting their whole thing from bands such as Lagwagon, who made the exact same sound over and over years back. And apparently Far From Nowhere is striking a ring of truth with old time fans who complained that the previous disc wasn't punk enough. Gee, but don't you get it? This stuff was never punk.


Yes, it seems like groups like these are being forced on us in every which way. If you're a video game fan, you'll know that too many games these days (those especially of the extreme sports variety) are becoming bogged down by this whole pop-punk garbage. Man, you know something's extreme if it has a song behind it featuring a band that is currently on a Vans Warped Tour. (Do those things go non-stop all year?) Slick Shoes is that very band.

And the whole looking back on youth, how innocent we all were then / how bitter times are now subject matter these guys plod through has been warmed over for what seems like ages now. But still, Slick Shoes hacks away at this subject in songs like "Carpenteria" ("When we were kids' we thought we'd stay this way (sic) / But now we've all grown up / I never thought I'd be the way it is now") and "We Were Young" ("We were young they say / They are times they'll never take away / We thought we new everything (sic) / But that never mattered much to me"). Boo-hoo. What, you're in your late teens-early 20s now and you're already reminiscing about how things were six or so years ago? Gimme a break. None of this type of silliness rings through with one hint of sincerity. Yes, we've truly heard it all before.

When the band isn't bemoaning their lost youths, then they're whining about being misunderstood (the other favorite topic of groups like this). There's the thrills of "Once Again" to dig through ("Kicked in the head again today / Why do I have to feel like this? / I've wasted so much time wondering what it is and if it's right / Why does it have to hurt so much to fight?") and the tedious "Hello Stupid" offer similar profundities ("I think I'm going to lose my mind / If I mess up just one more time / But as long as you're with me I'll be alright / Seems like I get dumber everyday"). No arguments here. Listening to this made me feel dumber after it was all over.

Then, of course, there's the other favorite pop-punk topic of having a girlfriend and making it sound overly melodramatic, and Slick Shoes doesn't forget this one either. They touch upon it in "Sleep In", "Hope against Hope", and "Always There". These tunes constantly discuss how amazing it is to have someone who sticks by you through your lame bullshit and hasn't given up on your sorry ass like they should have. Hoorah. It's always the same, it's just a shame, and that's all to quote Phil Collins, who sadly is a million times better than Slick Shoes could ever dream of being.

Trust me. If you're over 21, you won't find any of this entertaining. I may sound like the crotchety old fart that just can't connect with this kind of thing, but honestly, after hearing dozens of bands repeat the same formula over and over with little to no variation, what else can be said? Slick Shoes will eke out a small existence and then fade away fast like so many of its ilk have done. Even the kids listening to this stuff will eventually grow up as well (in the literal sense) and realize how absolutely plastic this kind of music is. So three cheers for mediocrity. Bash-bash-bash away.

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