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