The UK’s mystery free-skonk outfit Sly & The Family Drone is back with a new album, featuring their signature stylings and a few new directions as well. The rhythm section sets down grooves in and about its improv meandering and overbearing pounding. Present as usual are the wailing, droning sax and harsh electronics.
But differences from the group’s previous offerings emerge, especially when comparing Walk It Dry to their last couple of releases. Swearing on the Horns is an oddly-timed combination of rock-and-roll beats with echoing effects. Sunken Disorder begins with dark ambient synths that meld with discordant sax tones as the drumming introduces a rumbling soundscape. Indeed this less-than-all-out approach encompasses about one-quarter of the album, and is both spacious and haunting.
In general, the tracks are short on Walk It Dry – they get in, say their piece, and then step aside. But there is no lack of the musical extremism that we have come to expect and appreciate from Sly. Well done.