Reviewed by Kevin Curtin, Fri., Aug. 24, 2018
On lead single "Guns! (Baby)," Slomo Drags reaches a degree of demented pop splendor the Austin quartet merely hinted at on a previous pair of EPs. "This song is going out to every single person who's ever died ... Oh, I didn't realize there's so many of you guys," Jackson Albracht sings cheekily over restless keyboards and judiciously placed cowbell, sounding like an amalgamation of Joe Jackson and Of Montreal's Kevin Barnes. Aping the art of Steely Dan's Can't Buy a Thrill, full-length bow Deacon Bruise thrives on the tendencies that made the Dan's songcraft so distinct: extravagant backing vocals, ambitious arrangements, exquisite drum sounds, and unmoored guitar riffs courtesy of Raul Alvarez. Meanwhile, it's Albracht's strong lyricism bumping Slomo Drags above the local curve. On epic pop confessional "Natural Crimes" he's "praying to the God that kills musicians" only to sound downright nihilistic on late peak "Good Ones." Bleak, existential fun.