I was sent an incredibly talented and prolific solo artist to review. His work, much like this article is funded by Independent Music Productions.
January 11th of this year, singer, songwriter and performer Christopher Sluka, known by his last name, Sluka dropped a new album titled “Introversions”, produced by Steel Flower Music. This will be his 11th album. The multi-talented artist orchestrates his own sound, coming up with each part individually using all of his mournful vocals, guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, violin, and mournful vocals.
Born in the grunge of Seattle and raised across the world, his fan base is spread across continents. Self described as syncopated, gothic groove-rock and having an eerie vocal resemblance to David Bowie, Sluka has a sound that distinguishes itself with vigour. The sound produced meshes modern and classic artists– for example, the rhythm is highly reminiscent of The Police‘s 90’s pop sound, without the reggae roots, with some of that of Killer’s 21st century pop sound.
Not only is there an official music video for each one of the 13 tracks, but he is releasing a full length video of all of them, available with the album’s Blu-Ray release. His exciting and sentimental stage presence shine equally through his music videos and live video performances.
The tracklist reads as follows:
The first track cascading in our ears is “Valentine Lies”. The emotionally packed song is a mesmerizing combination of the soft, yet empowering vocals that remind us of the David Bowie/Killers axis mentioned earlier. The simple beat leaves way for incredible vocal play, weaving and unleashing his light during acceptable accents.
His creative experience shines through with “A San Diego Zoo”, reminiscent of his home town and the full throttle 90’s soft-rock pop scene. Light-hearted and nostalgic, the vocals sound straight-out of a sappy, B-rated film happy ending.
The third track off the album is “Sunday’s Child”. It’s a evokes a melodic surge of musical creativity with, again, the suggestion of The Police having a lovechild with The Killers. The keyboard groove had the overwhelming revival of the syncopated 90’s goth, pre-emo, angst rock, feeling to it.
Enter “Paralyzed”. Tasting of heart-ache… Powerfully sentimental vocals… Fading softly…. Slightly sounding like Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins… Progressive.. Soft-rock for a sad, rainy-day, break-up type of music.
Doctor Strangelove, brings forth a sound of a toned down on metal, pumped up with Sting, Black Sabbath with Ozzy trying to cover a Trent Reznor hit. Groovy, syncopation of industrial goth hums throughout. Definitely one of the more played songs on the album, encompassing the evolution of 90’s American progressive rock with a dash of the millennials tunes.
The 6th track hails more industrialized, syncopated grooves. “Even The Knights Love Caesar”. Again the Smashing Pumpkins vibe resurfaces. The romantic and creatively expressed lyrics are definitely a strong point, layered and mesmerizing with the echoing riffs.
“Beautiful” comes on the speakers with a surprisingly fresh new taste of heavily-accented industrial beats intertwined with a melodic groove. The creative diversity of sounds passes through prog-rock concepts.
A song bringing forth a more millennial sound is “Higher”– undoubtedly a more unearthly and pensive track. The dream-like atmosphere Sluka projects is beautifully when coupled with his powerful, wistful voice.
“Severed” keeps with the pace with a Foo Fighters-meets-Killers vibe. The vocals come off as a mix of a tamer Marilyn Manson, and again, a more wistful David Bowie. Another sentimental song, as “Higher” and “Beautiful” may have forecast.
“Fear of Ordinary Life” utilizes as much instrumental mastery as possible, with violins accenting the solemn guitar intro-riff, and soft vocals. A beautiful and simple song. Albeit dramatic, it ends with a respectably elegant and complete closure. The transitions are seamless.
“Sadder Than Sad”, yields a new flavour from anything else our ears have dug into during the course of the album. Again, industrial syncopated-gothic synth prevails with the underlying 90’s pop rock feel. Angst and contemplation seep through the distanced riffs. The music video is just as intensely charged. The innovative transitions come together quite persuasively.
“Hung”, the 12th track, brings us back to the daydreaming, soft rock sound. Calmly, yet fiercely continuing the revival of classic 90’s progressive rock with a more modern zest, his voice definitely leaves room for the melody to maintain the spotlight.
The grand finale captures full attention with true syncopated-Gothic groove; “Gothic Cavalier”, a taste-change from sweet and soft to low and sour, yet soothing. A creepy ode to The Ghost of Cavalier. It’s both dramatic, operatic, and smoothly held together with gothic grooves.
In conclusion, if you can dig a creative & flexible mind aging and progressing through a sound, somewhere between The Police (without reggae), The Killers, and some changes of texture, such as industrial inducing synth and syncopated Gothic-groove, then this album’s a definitive candidate for you!