Slug: Ripe

Thrilling, uneasy listening from former Field Music man Ian Black.

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This low-profile malarkey isn’t going too well for Sunderland’s Brewis Brothers-on-a-break, aka Field Music.

Peter Brewis’ excellent collaboration with Paul Smith (Maxïmo Park) breezed around the UK on a December mini tour, and it was during a chinwag after their London show that brother David talked of their participation in a “weird, krauty thing” called Slug, fronted by their former bassist Ian Black. A few weeks later, Ripe arrived at Prog Towers and the first play on our stereo revealed a highly polished but disquieting kind of alt-pop. At its best it comes across like the mutant lovechild of Sparks and XTC, aptly described by some of their titles (Cockeyed Rabbit Wrapped In Plastic, _Kill _Your Darlings). Well, happy Valentine’s Day to you too, Slug! Catching them live a few days later, their ‘cosmic barbershop’ waistcoats-and-bow tie look offset the slick post-punk disco of Greasy Mind and the bass-no-treble shimmy of Running To Get Past Your Heart, and brought Black’s humour to the fore. Ripe was put back on the stereo, layers of finely-crafted uneasy listening now stripped back, but with a chilling finale in At Least Show You Care. Strange – and thrilling – fruit, indeed.

Jo Kendall

Jo is a journalist, podcaster, event host and music industry lecturer with 23 years in music magazines since joining Kerrang! as office manager in 1999. But before that Jo had 10 years as a London-based gig promoter and DJ, also working in various vintage record shops and for the UK arm of the Sub Pop label as a warehouse and press assistant. Jo's had tea with Robert Fripp, touched Ian Anderson's favourite flute (!), asked Suzi Quatro what one wears under a leather catsuit, and invented several ridiculous editorial ideas such as the regular celebrity cooking column for Prog, Supper's Ready. After being Deputy Editor for Prog for five years and Managing Editor of Classic Rock for three, Jo is now Associate Editor of Prog, where she's been since its inception in 2009, and a regular contributor to Classic Rock. She continues to spread the experimental and psychedelic music-based word amid unsuspecting students at BIMM Institute London, hoping to inspire the next gen of rock, metal, prog and indie creators and appreciators.