Local music: The Slang

From the October 20, 2011 edition

For the members of The Slang, young adulthood meant navigating a sea of friends and fans in the rock bars of Columbus. In regular adulthood, they’re still clanging away in those bars, but their former social scene has long since moved on to parenthood, home ownership and the requisite early bedtimes.

Five years after forming in the wake of previous projects Trapper John and Kristi Strauss & Blue Medusa, they’re still making music and accruing fans, but what was once the pursuit of a party is now the pursuit of a second career.

“After the age of 25, it’s only people left who are doing music because they love it,” singer-guitarist John Bobo said.

“You don’t have a clique anymore,” drummer Chip Burke added.

Instead, now they have a family. That’s how they described Secret Song Records, which will release The Slang’s debut album this Friday with a show at The Basement.

Having released just one EP in five years, they planned to compensate with a double album until time, money and common sense corralled the self-titled project into one disc.

“It kind of got to the point that a double album was a bit arrogant,” Bobo said. “I don’t think anybody in Columbus was looking for the Slang double album.”

What remains is a diverse set of pop tunes that veers from Snow Patrol power balladry to horn-powered funk to guitar-driven alt-rock in the first three tracks alone.

“The thought behind it was kind of like my wife’s iPod,” Bobo said. “It’ll go from Lady Gaga to King Diamond to Slayer.”

The Slang’s album doesn’t cover quite that much territory, but its carefully honed sonics — including horn arrangements by Prince collaborator Greg Boyer — do demand some samples in lieu of a fourth member.

“We’re able to leverage that,” Burke said, “and sound a lot bigger than we are.”