Sierra - Pslip | Review

Kitchener, Ontario's Sierra have landed the coveted spot as the first release on the new label founded by members of Kylesa, Retro Futurist with their debut titled Pslip. Sierra has toured with Kylesa and Pslip was produced Philip Cope but the trio are far from a Kylesa clone. They do however have some attributes that will endear them to fans of the Georgia group.

Bookended by the instrumental intro and outro (“Pslip In” and “Pslip Out”) are seven tracks of grooved-out hard rock bowing down to the power of the riff. Each proper track has at least one killer riff that can reaffirm your faith in guitar based music.

Guitarist/vocalist Jason Taylor never has to worry about the one that got away. With so many hooks both guitar and vocal, hauling in the listener is a guarantee. And he does so with the hazy trip of “Little Smoke”. It's a groovy toe-tapper drifting between warm riffs and cool instrumental sojourns. It's here too we first hear bassist Robbie Carvalho cutting through the mix with his bluesy sound. Later, he sounds a lot like Geezer Butler (“Smoke Filled Room”) and that's nothing to complain about. Drummer Ky Anto is in fine form on “Control Folly”. It's a punchy tune with edge but it works in a southern groove.

At its core Pslip is all about the riffs. And there's perhaps none better than the main riff on “100”. When they drop into it from the easy breezy parts of the song, it's a “wow” moment. When the bass picks it up during the extended and soulful solo, it makes the whole album. But the sweet licks continue throughout the album as Pslip gains intensity. “Psquigalogz” bears some definite Sabbathisms. “Into Nothing” reminds one of Helmet at times, maybe a bit of Clutch, and some other '90s influences I can't quite pin down. Also, if I'm not mistaken, and I'm not, Cope makes a guest appearance here. I'm sure part of the reason Pslip sounds as great as it does is due to Cope's production. He's always been exemplary. Cope's, or other Kylesa influences can be felt on the final track as well. “Pseptember” is harder, heavier, slower and sludgier.

As Retro Futurist's first release, Pslip shows promise for the label. Sierra are a band that makes sense being on a roster run by Kylesa members without being a clone. Pslip isn't as psychedelic as its (excellent) cover would suggest but it is soulful, shifting, slightly southern, sexy, smoky and seriously catchy. Psweet.

Matt Hinch

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Matt Hinch lives an unassuming life on the backroads outside Forest Mills, Ontario, Canada. He packs in as much metal as he possible can amid factory work, raising three daughters with his wife and working the land. In addition to Scratch the Surface Matt also writes for Hellbound, Ghost Cult Magazine, About Heavy Metal and his own blog, Kingdom of Noise.
Keep up with him on Twitter @KingdomofNoise.