SLADE — Play It Loud (review)

SLADE — Play It Loud album cover Album · 1970 · Proto-Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
This is a great album.

It reveals more with subsequent listens, rewarding the listener with arrangements and performances of surprising quality and rock-ness.

It gets better the louder you play it - true to the title, and the more time and patience you give it, the more it gives back, like a kind of musical buddy.

The metallic moments are few and far between, hence the rating - for itself, I'd give it a solid 4 or even 4 and a half stars. It's not quite a masterpiece, as there's nothing that I could comfortably describe as outstanding. It is an enjoyable and reasonably raucous romp in rock, Holder's distinctive larynx qualities and occasional towers of "crunch" being the main attractions here.

"Raven" has moments of pure power that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stick up, causing a draught down the back of your T-Shirt. It also has moments of pub-band silliness, and irritating chickin-pickin-ness - but it's a great intro to the Spinal Tapness of "See Us Here", a bass-driven crunch fest.

Holder's voice really impresses here, like he's screaming through a truckload of gravel - and there are some tingly vocal harmonies in the chorus among other sumptuous arrangement details.

"Dapple Rose" is the first of many highlights - a ballad that turns and twists through various Beatles stylings. The violin solo could be lost, but otherwise, the arrangement is superb, as the violin works better in it's counter-melody setting.

It's back to the R-O-C-K for "Could I", a twisted stomper, like a Turbocharged Beatles number bent around a sledgehammer.

The album flows well into "One Way Hotel", which has a load more original twists among the Beatles cues and bluesy passages - and hints somehow at David Bowie's later Glam albums.

"Shape Of Things To Come" is the song from the film "Wild in the Streets", originally from the album of the same name by fictional rock band Max Frost and The Troopers. The song was later released by Dave Allen and The Arrows - Allen getting much credit for being the missing link between Link Wray and Jimi Hendrix as Fuzz box innovator.

Holder's voice, the cranked guitars, the vocal harmonies and the tasteful arrangement details dominate the remaining tracks, none of which stand out from the others, as they are all of a similarly high quality - making this album a rewarding listen for any rock fan.

Metal fans may feel a little short-changed, however, so should look to Slade's later releases for the "proper" proto stuff.
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