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An original sound

Father Napalm
By Slick

Self-released: 1986

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This review first appeared in the February 25, 1986 issue of The Daily Aztec.

" ...And we're really against apartheid, you know? Our first song, 'Father Napalm,' is about that."

Great. Another band condeming South Africa. How original.

However, Xavier Cronin and his brother and band namesick, Slick, have put together a sharp little blues/funk/reggae album that merits a listen.

Slick has done something few new bands are able to: establish a unique sound. The African and Latin-influenced rhythms and syncopated beat make a good backdrop for Slick's rough voice, which is in the groove of a Springsteen, Dylan or Mellencamp.

The title track, "Father Napalm," has extremely visual lyrics that capture the feel of violence in apartheid-era South Africa:

Father Napalm hit the ground
kids all around
sunny Sundy morning near Maputo
dirt turns red
half the kids are dead
chopper's gun, it tears the town to shreds

You get the idea.

What with the reggae beat and Slick's rough-hewn but energetic vocals, the sound is a bit like Mojo Nixon sitting in with Bob Marley.

The best track on the album is "South Blackstone Street," which has been getting airplay on local college and alternative radio stations and could become an underground hit. The cool beat, mellow guitar lines and Slick's typically expressive (and quite poetic) lyrics contribute to create a real sense of mood:

Everything's so easy when the bourbon warms the night
I was down on 65th Street when some biker with a knife
swears he's goonna cool me, shine me on for life
But the alley is a mother, yes, so everything's all right

Another potential hit is "Last Rhapsody" – Xavier plays the best guitar of the album, and Slick sounds more like a blues singer and a lot less like Dylan.

It's a good debut with a nice sound and some songs well worth a listen.