Winnipeg bassist, singer, and superior-grade songwriter Rod Slaughter made his mark in pre-millennial days of yore with the minimalist yet mighty mod racket of Duotang, with drummer Sean Allum. That was followed by a stretch with Novillero, an act that maxed out on orchestral-pop ornamentation.
With Silver Clouds, Slaughter settles into a sweet spot between the two, accompanied by members of Novillero and Transonic. Count on some rich guitars and keys, and robust backup harmonies, lots of big ol’ ba-ba-bahs. Slaughter’s anglophilia remains intact – the first song is called “Peter Sellers”, the cover’s an evident homage to those of Stone Roses and 4AD’s first wave of shoegazers, and his guiding light is as always the ambitious, artisanal pop-rock of the Kinks, the Jam, and the like.
Slaughter’s lyrical style could be called political poetry. Not in the sense of protest songs – if anything, it’s a litany of petty gripes, gussied up in gravitas. He’s certainly an astute and critical observer of social dynamics, and quite skilled at matching the mundane with the momentous, the interpersonal with the geopolitical. Hence the metaphors in songs like “Five Year Plan” and “Maginot Line”. Unlike that latter historical reference point, however, Silver Clouds isn’t something one can simply bypass and ignore.