Sluka’s Got the Right Answers on Figure It Out LP
It’s perfectly obvious that after dropping a plenitude of albums—the latest of which, Figure It Out, graced the world’s presence earlier this month—there’s some things Christopher Sluka, leader of the band Sluka, knows how to do really well.
He’s got more vocal styles than most singers know what to do with. On other albums in which there’s a lead singer, it’s not uncommon to get acclimated to, or even bored with, his or her style after a few cuts. That’s far from the case with Sluka’s aforementioned lead singer, who runs through a gamut of voices, lyrical phrasings, and even histrionics when he’s on the mic.
His delivery on some numbers is inordinately cool and reassuring, like his work on “Isn’t It Strange” in which he muses about how “two and two makes five”. Although he eventually doubles the track up with a higher part on the second verse, the azure quality and texture of his voice remains one of the song’s best elements.
Other times his voice is immense and expansive, deliberately picking its way through just the right high notes. He perfects this technique on the piano-infused “Feel The Weight”, which dynamically shifts keys to a markedly higher, better piano while making you “feel the weight/feel the pain”. It’s by far the best part of the tune, a moving spectacle that lingers even after the song’s done.
In fact, this quality’s another one Sluka’s mastered—he knows how to get in and out of these tracks typically in little over three minutes with dramatic shifts in key, song structure, and voices, while availing himself of a penchant for swift endings that continue to resonate the effect of the song.
With “Vye on Vyetta” he combines these elements and others for what may be the best effort on this collection. His lyrics are metaphysical yet sensual (another characteristic he’s got down pat) as he reveres the “ancient soul of ecstasy”. The drums are unorthodox, he’s brought back a variation of that reassuring singing style, and the song is somehow a primal ode you can feel—until it abruptly cuts off on the date Albert Einstein was born, believe it or not.
Figure It Out is a trek into uncharted songwriting, honest reflection, and the state of today’s world, which is quite a lot for a pop record.