Published May 28, 2019It's always a marvel when a band that seemingly disappeared into the void (aka Victoria, BC) comes back sounding like they never left. If you were to listen to Welcome to Miami and In Hell without knowing about Slam Dunk's extended hiatus, chances are you wouldn't be able to tell their previous album was released almost seven years prior to this one.
The absence of some tasty saxophone lines notwithstanding, In Hell is as worthy a followup as fans could hope for. In typical Slam Dunk fashion, nearly every chorus is shouted, random whoops and hollers abound, and every guitar riff sounds as though open chord strumming was just invented. Bright, sloppy and loud, it's the musical equivalent of a backyard barbeque, and carries far less risk of sunburn.
Tracks like "In Hell," "Fucking Around" and "EZ2C" showcase how Slam Dunk's immense (and immensely overlooked) songwriting talent is at its peak when steeped in their wonky sense of humour. (This is the band that made a fake documentary about touring with Arcade Fire, after all.)
However, it's "DYB" that proves to be the most interesting cut on the record. At almost eight minutes (a small eternity in Slam Dunk time), with an extended intro, longer narrative thread, and satisfyingly slow burn, it suggests that the band still has a lot to explore creatively on future endeavours.
It would be a crying shame to have to wait another seven years for more Slam Dunk, but at least In Hell is a strong indication that it would be worth the wait. (Independent)