Sluka returns with new single Hey Oh, focussing on strength in mentality and jovial rhythms that drive the track forward.
Sluka seems to have a bounce in his step these days. Featuring a more settled approach to the music than, say something on previous album Colorful Radiation, Sluka manages to use this to his benefit. New single Hey Oh feels more structured, allowing him and the band to shed their skins and come out the other side in a happy place. This really comes through in the music, strengthening the sound and bringing the track to life.
Jaunty mandolin starts the track before a strong drumbeat gatecrashes and suddenly makes you sit up and take notice. This allows the music to settle into its groove and create the melodies the track is based around. Gentle background sounds then prepare you for the entry of Sluka’s evergreen vocals that still have all the heart and vigour of previous releases. With a hint of Arcade Fire about the track, uplifting sounds and playful imagery are constantly thrown at the listener before everything cuts out and the mandolin once again has its time to shine at centre stage. It never overstays its welcome, however, and before long you’re settled right back into the ‘meat and two veg’ of strong rhythms, subtle layers and interesting twists.
As the track progresses you get more of a sense of what Sluka is trying to say, with the lyrics riding on a wave of positivity found within the music, and perhaps overcoming the difficulties of the past: “Picking up our self-respect, celebrate our resurrection”. It’s all about finding those feelings that make you happy and driving them upwards and outwards into the world and those around you. As the music bellows forwards to its heady conclusion, it finishes just as it starts with the heady mandolin, feeling more like an epilogue than an ending.
Hey Oh is a sign that Sluka is in a good place. This comes through in the music that’s happy but honest, strong but bold. The turns in melodies work well to push the music forward and the strong drum beat doesn’t need to be anything flashy, instead, tying everything nicely together. Sluka’s vocals apply their subtle but tasteful tones as always, allowing the music to breathe when necessary. A strong effort that leaves us intrigued for the upcoming record.
By Jamie Parmenter