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Megan Slankard
Token Of The Wreckage
Review By Steven Stone

 

  Megan Slankard is difficult to pigeonhole. I hear equal parts of country soul, folk, pop, and alt rock in her music. And you can't help but admire her industry although she's only in her early 20's she's sold over 25,000 of her first two independent CD releases. Her third, Token of the Wreckage, amply demonstrates why she's so popular.

Some of Slankard's original songs are bouncy and fun such as "The Happy Birthday" while others are dark and sad like "The Tragic Life of Caleb." But regardless of the mood Slankard connects with the essence of that emotion and injects it into her music. Even on the pop confection "Soundtrack" Slankard finds the right combination of perkiness and vacuity for that ideal girl-group vibe.

Slankard's voice is a powerful musical tool. An exemplary folk-singer's voice , it's direct and disarming in its lack of artifice. With the help of co-producer Jerry Becker and David Bryson for Token of the Wreckage she's double and triple-tracked her voice into multiple musical personalities. Like different costumes for different roles, sometimes the lead vocal is clear, natural and unadorned, while on other tunes Slankard equalizes her timbre into a Borgish human-synth.

The rich and full-bodied arrangements behind Slankard's vocals are equally ambitious and impressive. The player list isn't especially deep, but everyone contributes multiple instrument parts. Danny Blau plays electric guitars, Wurlitzer, and synths, James Departo plays electric guitars, lap steel, pedal steel, slide guitar, mandolin, and acoustic guitars, Dave Bryson plays acoustic guitar, bass, mandolin, and Jerry Becker plays acoustic guitar, keyboards, and percussion. There's an almost cinematic feel to some of the arrangements that's more like a tightly orchestrated pop than introspective folk, yet Slankard maintains her grounding in roots music while successfully taking advantage of the expressive possibilities of denser arrangements.

 

 

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