Go Slow Down


Slash / Reprise Records, 1993


REVIEW BY: Jason Warburg


Life throws you all kinds of curveballs. Case in point: Go Slow Down was a really strange album for the BoDeans to break through to the mainstream with.

It would be a bit of a stretch to call this an album of love songs… more like an album of songs about love… or, in some cases, the act of love. Okay, let's face it -- in at least two instances, this disc sounds like an attempt to write a soundtrack album for The Joy Of Sex… not that there's anything wrong with that.

Ironically, this earthy, somewhat anti-commercial fifth disc from the Wisconsan, roots-rocking band built around singer-songwriter duo Kurt Neumann and Sam Llanas also contains their one smash hit single, the buoyant rocker "Closer To Free." In a twist of fate worthy of the Rembrandts, the producers of one-time uber-youth-soap my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Party Of Five decided "CTF" sounded like great opening-credits music. Well, yeah. It cooks along like a born classic, fueled by Michael Ramos's soaring organ and accordion work and the heavy backbeat laid down by bassist Bob Griffin and guest drummer Kenny Aaronoff.

Truth be told, there are some very sweet and thoughtful tunes here, full of a kind of weary optimism, and decorated brightly with Llanas and Neumann's fine acoustic/electric guitar and mandolin work. "Idaho" is a (by turns) lyrical and philosophical little rocker about perspective. The upbeat "Save A Little" is equally appealing, and "Cold Winter's Day" is masterful in capturing a more somber mood, a vibrant mixture of nostalgia and camaraderie. Another number of note, "Stay On," is a kind of self-directed inspirational speech for struggling musicians.

But the title track… man, oh man. It's really funny to me what's considered obscene these days, because "Go Slow Down" and "Feed The Fire" are a thousand times sexier than anything you may or may not have seen on last year's Super Bowl halftime show, and there's not a parental advisory in sight. No expletives, nothing graphic -- just the essence of lusty sensuality, captured in words and music. Listen to these songs with someone you love.

Go Slow Down marked the commercial high-water mark of the BoDeans' career to date. Since the follow-up to Go Slow Down, 1996's fine Blend, they've recorded and toured intermittently. They're one of those low-profile bands who deserve more attention, but have never craved it enough to compromise their musical integrity. And Go Slow Down is an excellent album precisely because it's uncompromising -- honest, raw and beautiful, it's my pick for their best.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


© 2004 Jason Warburg and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Slash / Reprise Records, and is used for informational purposes only.