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.
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.