SLUG – HiggledyPiggledy (Memphis Industries)

Ian Black aka SLUG chooses to escape from outsider living in the North East by creating a future world

Released Apr 13th, 2018 via Memphis Industries / By Ian Stanley
SLUG – HiggledyPiggledy (Memphis Industries) When at his weird, electronic-insect best, there are few artists doing what SLUG (Ian Black) is doing, in the way that he is doing it at the moment. On HiggledyPiggledy, his second full album after his 2015 debut RIPE, he goes truly solo from previous bandmates from Field Music. The result is falling deeper into whatever strange realm his mind dwells.

'Humming and Hawing' and ‘Arbitrary Lesson in Custom’ have the rolling jazz drums that carry us down the rabbit hole and push out into SLUG’s dystopian future. It is little coincidence that ‘Arbitrary Lesson in Custom’ talks about 'how we lose touch with people and friends we love and the slow burn of how it happens' to the backdrop of a cello which sounds like it’s pushing this sci-fi odyssey across a vast desert. While the topics are similar to other albums – sex, loss, political disagreements and dissatisfaction – it is the delivery that sets HiggledyPiggledy apart.

With SLUG coming from and living in Brexit central (Sunderland) he’s been having difficulty coming to terms with it 'venting in pubs, writing in the character of how some people think and behave'. Or living the life of an outsider 'in Wetherspoons arguing with some of the questionable attitudes of locals' as his press release says. It’s a HiggledyPiggledy situation that he finds himself in, and the title of this album feels like it is as much about his life in Sunderland as the world he’s created on these 13 tracks.

That world is escapism, and heavy guitars permeate as much as they did on RIPE, but with added guidance from far more prominent strings. For instance, ‘Earlobe’ and ‘No Heavy Petting’ are just as sharp edged and electronic as ‘Cockeyed Rabbit’ or ‘Greasy Mind’.

One for lovers of cinematic, futuristic soundtracks that tell just as many stories through music as lyrics. This is a progression for SLUG rather than a stagnation and one that will see him ready just in time for a darkened sweaty rooms of summer tours and soaking fields of festival season. He has this spooky sci-fi opera odyssey song of the future thing sorted.