Hailing from Morristown NJ, Sloth Baby & the Land Pirates are a rad gaggle of dudes who play multiple musical instruments and mash them together to give you a bloody eargasm. Their album “Sloth Demos” is a hybrid, alternative indie effort, with more than just a hint of late 60’s psychedelic and acid-rock finesse.
Yes it’s cacophonous and gritty: just try and dance to some of the counter-rhythmic beats that fill the album like a train being thrown down the staircase of a fifty-story building. It’s not popular mainstream, radio music. It was never meant to be and will never apologize for not being so. It is just about as an acquired taste as you’re ever likely to get!
Nonetheless, “Sloth Demos” will probably be one of the few albums that survive the 21st century. Somebody will be listening to this in a few hundred years when the concept of music changes and lyrical frolicking and loosely staggering rhythms are as harmonious as the choir in seventh heaven.
Rock has produced a few genius variations of this music during its illustrious history. But to experience something with this sense of exploration and personal vision, or as equally playful and scathing, and able to stretch the boundaries of what people think of as ‘rock music’, you’d have to put Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention and Tom Waits, into a kitchen blender. And what comes out of this mix may just be Sloth Baby & the Land Pirates!
The song titles are indicative enough of what’s to be served up on the musical platter: “Lincoln Built His Own House Before He Was Born”, “Winds Of Shit” and “Mashed Potato Mits Moe” surely can leave no doubt in anyone’s mind?
Take one part of garage sounds, some acoustic guitar, psychedelic rock, and offbeat vocals, then mix liberally with a few acid tabs and you might get something approximating “Sloth Demos”. This album sounds insane at first listen, as though the musicians just screwed around on recording this stuff. On closer inspection though, you’ll find some extremely well thought out playing by one of the most enjoyable and eccentric indie bands around; its complex, often tuneful, and always interesting, throughout the 9 tracks.
To fully appreciate Sloth Baby & the Land Pirates you need to get outside of your normal mode of listening and stretch your ears beyond the easily digestible, sweet pre-packaged tunes that most of us were spoon-fed our entire lives. Standout tracks abound, but it’s a very personal choice as the varied styles on the album, cover a lot of ground. I particularly enjoyed “Dert Cheap” and “Eraserhead” above all else.
“Sloth Demos” is absolutely original and unflinchingly daring music for the new millennium. Sometimes raucous and silly, at others, chaotic and gorgeously clever, this is a manifesto of perfectly controlled clamor. If you enjoy the mental and emotional exercise of actually listening to music, Sloth Baby & the Land Pirates is definitely worth acclimating yourself to!