Album Review: Sluka – Colorful Radiation
I try not to be overly influenced by an album’s cover art: don’t judge a book, etc. But the gruesome artwork on this one nearly scared me off. The music deserves better. Multi-instrumentalist Christopher Sluka has a voice eerily reminiscent of David Bowie, and though he’s not an artist of the late Thin White Duke’s caliber (precious few are!) he has plenty of musical ideas. And he seems intent on stuffing as many as possible into each song. For the engaged listener, that’s a good thing: “Number one” has enough ideas for several tunes. The more casual listener might get fatigued a bit spinning this disc, but if so, it’s their loss.
Oddly enough, that dire cover art is by Sluka himself. But hey: I’m a music critic not a visual art critic. Sticking instead to the songs – ten of them – is a rewarding experience. I though I detected a vaguely European sensibility within Sluka’s originals songwriting and arrangement, but as it happens he’s a L.A. by way of NYC artist. He explores a variety of textures: drone, trance and so on – within the context of ear candy melodies. Colorful Radiation is ambitious, but ultimately the music holds up to – and delivers on – that ambition.
About the Author
With a background in marketing and advertising, Bill Kopp got his professional start writing for Trouser Press. After a stint as Editor-in-chief for a national music magazine, Bill launched Musoscribe in 2009, and has published new content every business day since then (and every single day since 2018). The 4000-plus interviews, essays, and reviews on Musoscribe reflect Bill's keen interest in American musical forms, most notably rock, jazz, and soul. His work features a special emphasis on reissues and vinyl. Bill's work also appears in many other outlets both online and in print. He regularly hosts lecture/discussions on artists and albums of historical importance (including monthly events Music to Your Ears and Music Movie Mondays), and is a frequent guest on music-focused radio programs and podcasts. In Spring 2023 he is co-teaching a history of Rock 'n' Roll at UNC Asheville's College for Seniors. He also researches and authors liner notes for album reissues -- more than 30 to date -- and co-produced a reissue of jazz legend Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's final album. His first book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018, and in paperback in 2019. His second book, Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave, was published in 2021 by HoZac Books. His third book, What's the Big Idea: 40 Great Concept Albums will be published in 2024. Read even more about him here.