Slowride – Split EP

Split EP

Two bands from Dallas, Texas split this new EP on Deep Elm Records, and it feels soon to hear from these bands when both had recent full-lengths on the North Carolina label. But both offer new material, and while Slowride continues their pop-punk ways, Red Animal War are taking their brand of aggressive, moody rock to a whole new level. That’s really what this is for me: a teaser for the next Red Animal War music. Their contributions are good enough alone to justify buying this split. But with Ed Rose (Bradtson, Appleseed Cast, Casket Lottery) on the boards, all six songs sound excellent.
Red Animal War share some similarities with Fugazi, but while their last album seemed a bit more derivative, their new material is most assuredly all their own. Driving and aggressive while not out of control, it’s extremely strong almost-hardcore rock. Their opener, “77,” is the best song from this band that I’ve heard, and it kicks ass. Driven by melodic guitars over a driving, pounding drum beat, it has the feel of a hardcore song without the screaming. The singer does shout the vocals, though, and it’s a great delivery. This one song makes me re-think what I know about this band. Much more mellow and centered around some acoustic guitars, “The Electric Kings” starts soft but ends up rocking quite hard. The vocals don’t work for me as well on “Modus Operandi,” having a bit of a weird Creed-ish echoey quality to them, but the moody, bass-driven rock and warbling guitar is fantastic.
Slowride are nothing like RAW, however. They’re all about the punk rhythms and driving yet melodic guitar with ultra-smooth vocals. Very tight and catchy, they manage to differentiate themselves through their musicianship. “Jesus Candle” starts off with a Muzzle-like rhythm and blasts of guitars, while “Freeway” is driven by a power guitar drive, full of speedy licks. “Dear John” closes with their best song, and while it’s little different than the others, it has the best guitar and some strong lyrics: “All I wanted was an answer / Given to me straight and true / All I got was broken English and you.”
Red Animal War really did surprise me here. Their music was good if a bit unoriginal on their full-length, but it was clearly only a taste for what’s to come. If these three songs are any indication, their next album is going to be amazing. That being said, buy the split for their songs. Slowride is good, too, if you like the poper-pop-punk, but they can’t hold a candle to their Dallas contemporaries here.