Review: The Slinkeys - "Somebody"

The Slinkeys - Somebody
(2014 Self-Released)

Though many successful lo-fi bands like Beat Happening and Half Japanese have cited the innocence of pre-adolescence as an influence on their primal, amateurish sound, few have taken a look back at elementary school as closely as the anonymous artist behind The Slinkeys. "When I was 4-7, I pretended I was in hundreds of bands and I made a lot of CD booklets, and the main band was The Slinkeys," read the digital liner notes of the project's debut EP. "This project is me taking those old lyrics and putting them to music years later". It's a bold move, but one that pays off. The style of verse re-visited is beautifully simple and circuitous, reminding me of the fictional "video game strategy guides" I used to scribble in a Spongebob notebook back in the day. 

"Be not nobody, somebody, nobody," sings our mystery musician on the opening line of the Somebody EP's title track, a tune that might appear on an existential version of Sesame Street. A sputtering drum machine skips along like a stone across water, and an acoustic guitar fumbles along with it. "I would fly above you / She would clean the street / I am waiting for somebody to rest on me". At this point, what may seem to some like a child's nonsensical fantasy actually bears a resemblance to the feverish surrealism often penned by Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Magnum. The guitar and off-kilter rhythm of "Somebody", now that I think about it, would feel right at home on NMH's 1996 LP On Avery Island.

"Let Go" is the punkest track on the EP with its abrasive 8-bit synths and forceful rhythm. The lyrics here are a bit more absurd, but fit well with the dark assault unleashed by their backing track, which sounds like it could be the battle theme from a Pokemon game. "You'd say your name / I'd say my name / That's enough / 20 eggs laid". Lines like this are wonderfully innocent and clearly improvised. This is definitely the must-download track of the bunch. A fun experiment in nostalgia, the Somebody EP is an addictive effort that is surprisingly study-able.