Sunday Sesh: Sludgefest 2 – This Time It’s Personal
Right around this time last year, the internet at large (and the Toilet at less large) concluded that Brian Borcherdt/Lunar Orbit‘s slowed down and eviled up Chipmunks on 16 Speed – Sludgefest was #goodcontent. In this godless year of 2017, Borcherdt and Chipmunks on 16 Speed returned to take us back to Dave’s House of Horrors with Sludgefest 2 – The Sludgening. Do these selections of pop songs performed by fake anthropomorphic animals then slowed down with a record player live up to the last offering and still sound like Candlemass? Inquiring minds, inquire within.
Although we’re not quite dealing with Betteridge’s law of headlines here, as you likely surmised from that leading query, the answer is likely a no for you. The original Sludgefest was certainly a phenomenon, but its popularity was not solely due to its memeability. As it turns out, slowing down Alvin and Co. reveals a thoughtful layer of vocal harmonies that, when delivered in a doomy tenor, add more than a bit of melancholy to a series of otherwise bright and shiny pop tracks. It doesn’t hurt that the drums crackle and pop and sound absolutely massive in that big 80s Ozzy way. “Heaven Is a Place on Earth” sounds like a different song entirely, its wistfulness strained out through a series of killer riffs and eclectic drum fills.
Ultimately, though, it was the song selection itself that made the first Sludgefest so great. Everyone knows “Walk Like An Egyptian,” “Call Me,” and “Always On My Mind.” Unfortunately, the tracklist for Sludgefest 2 – Sludgectric Munkaloo, just isn’t as strong, and that’s no fault of Borcherdt’s. Remember, his project involves slowing down existing Chipmunks records, so he has to work with what’s on hand. Unfortunately, as you can see in the tracklist below, there’s nothing on this record to compete with huge tracks like “My Sharona.”
- Chariots of Fire
- Good Girls Don’t
- How Do I Make You
- This Diamond Ring
- Eye of the Tiger
- Mr. Tambourine Man
That isn’t to say that there aren’t great songs here. “Chariots of Fire” and “Good Girls Don’t” are obviously both classics, but part of the appeal of the original sludgefest was inverting the saccharine pop tropes into something downtuned and dour. That songs about love and desire and doughnuts could sound so malicious was part of the revelation. Hearing “Eye of the Tiger” and “This Diamond Ring,” an already gritty rock song and melancholy lament, respectively, dropped low just doesn’t capture the same doom and gloom as the inversion of the first record.
While the vocal melodies, riffs, and drums all still sound stellar as doom fodder, Sludgefest 2 – Sludge in the Munk Hood just starts with weaker material all around, and Borcherdt is hamstrung right out of the gate with a synth-heavy instrumental track that just doesn’t translate to doom well at all. Oh well. At least you can hear a pretty humorous replacement on Alvin’s part in “Good Girls Don’t.” “Sitting on your face” becomes “Sitting in your place,” because we can’t have cartoon characters making lewd comments about sex acts, can we?
Anyway, the floor is yours. Do you like this collection more than the first? Am I being a stick in the mud? It’s Sunday. Shitpost away!