Slax Off

If you told me to listen to an album that mixes ska, punk, arena rock, alt-country, blues, folk and 1970s glam, I would adamantly decline. The kitchen sink approach often falls flat. Local band Axshinslax, however, has found a recipe that feels right despite sprinkling in all of the above styles. The secret? Slax Off is a pretty tight pop rock album. Even when it meanders into bright horns on "Someday" or spacey reverb on "Lift Me Up," it doesn't lose itself.

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Slax Off could probably score the opening credits for a number of films about angsty love starring a young Christan Slater. Some lyrics plot cheesy stories of pining with so many clunky end-rhymes that they seem silly. A slant rhyme here and there would be nice. That said, the over-rhyming works when frontman Tyler Bernhardt makes it obvious he's aiming for self-aware self-deprecation. In the end, the melodies are catchy and surprising, and that makes up for the writing.

It's the mischievous country tune "Blasted" that stands out as lyrical genius with images of a dusty bar full of folks getting high while a girl with cuts on her hands bloodies the ice. It's hard to forget a song like that.

Axshinslax plays a CD release party at the Top Hat Wednesday, Nov. 3, at 10 PM, with Airstream Safari. $5.

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