The Slits: Trapped Animal

The Slits
Trapped Animal
(Narnack)

The Slits’ Peel Sessions EP stands to me as a classic of the punk era, while their first full length Cut, despite its immensely provocative cover (band member Palmolive reportedly left the band because of it), felt tired, as though an insincere Caribbean influence had been grafted over shortcomings in the music. The Slits, then, were a band with tremendous potential who barely managed to make anything like a body of work. All of which left me confused about how curious to be about their new album, coming 30 years after their first, 25 years after their third and last. Well, my advice to you is not to think that hard about it.

Ari Up and Tessa Pollitt are back with a band whose ingredients—punk, reggae, hip hop, and even middle eastern music (“Reggae Gypsy”) — have had enough time to blend, ferment, and become spicy, pungent, and tasty. Contemporary production technology allows for a less shaky instrumental bed on which their lyrical and musical ideas may play. What seemed half-baked against the explosive backdrop of 1979 is fresh and piping hot now. I like.