Slot 55 brings back the album experience with ‘My Reflection’

It’s been a long time since I’ve really listened to an album from top to bottom. I’m not talking about streaming the latest buzzworthy band on Spotify while running errands or sending e-mails. I’m talking about popping in an actual CD into a non-computer CD player, and reading along with the album lyric booklet.  No Facebook notifications. No tweeting. No distractions.

When Slot 55 sent me their latest project, My Reflection, it came along with those specific instructions for listening and I’m so glad I played along. Music is a physical experience and as wonderful as the Internet has been for music discovery, I think the digital album experience of today lacks tactility.

Slot 55- My Reflection

That being said, My Reflection really delivers an experience to the listener, no matter what the method of enjoyment.

The record was four years in the making. Rich Beaumont, one of the founding members of Slot 55, spent years playing bass in the tribute band circuit. Wanting to take his music to the next level with original tunes, he called up one of the best songwriters he knew- Phil Gorlaski– and Slot 55 was born, with the more recent addition of Andrew Toy on drums.

The band built their own studio for the sake of the record, so the clock wouldn’t hinder their creativity. The time and craftsmanship put into My Reflection shows, with 11 solidly produced tracks that echo the sounds of Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, and Guns & Roses. There were a few songs that really stood out, however.

The album opens up with a crackling record player and “Loaded Gun.” What’s immediately apparent is the strength of Phil Gorlaski’s voice. He has incredible range, control, and personality. The lyrics are particularly powerful in this one as well, likening a frazzled post- breakup emotional state to a loaded gun.

“In My Life” actually appears twice on My Reflection. For those who buy the physical CD, there’s a fully produced uptempo version along with a hidden track that’s a stripped down acoustic version at the end. I love this song for its strong chorus and energetic guitars. It builds beautifully.

Another standout track is “Helpless Lady,” featuring saxophone by Dr. Michael Scott. It’s not often that you hear a saxophone on a rock record and it really added a unique smoothness to the song.

“No Name” also brings in some uncommon instrumentation, with harp by Meghan Davis and Alex Keller on cello. It starts out as a gentle ballad but kicks up to a rock track by the second verse.

Probably one of my favorite lyrics on the album appears in the song, “To the Sun.” Phil sings: “And I’ve been rearranged/And I think you’re to blame.” It’s a pretty deep sentiment considering the song’s subject and as with many of the lyrics on this album, you have to read between the lines. It’s the opposite of the literal, instant gratification we’ve become accustomed to these days in the music world.

Finally, I’m a huge fan of “Drift Away.” It’s impossible not to laugh out loud when you first hear it. The track is fun and driving, complete with a gospel choir and of course, cowbell.

Slot 55’s My Reflection runs deep and has many layers- both musically and lyrically. The production and polish is impressive and the band build upon years of being working musicians. If you love rock and roll and long for the days before digital, you’re going to love this record and this band.

If you’d like to download the album for free on Slot 55’s website, click here. However, if you buy the physical copy of the album at select local businesses, the cost is only $5 and 100% of the proceeds will go to local veteran’s benefits- as if the music wasn’t sweet enough in itself.

You can also stream the album in full below.

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