Highway Songs is the new studio album from Slint's David Pajo under his Papa M moniker, his first material in over 10 years. Highway Songs is an extraordinary listen. In February 2015, David survived a suicide attempt. He has spoken very candidly about it since as he recovers and begins working again: “Honestly, there was such a massive outpouring of love and support by making my heart public that there was no way to avoid being empowered by it all. My family drew me in tighter than we’ve ever been. Thousands of emails and messages from friends and strangers came flooding in immediately." A big part of talking so openly about depression and suicide was that, to be frank, no one else was doing so. “Depression and suicide rarely get any attention unless it’s unusual or a celebrity. We don’t talk about it amongst friends – we think it’s too morbid. But I’ve known more people who have died from suicide than any other illness. In my world, it’s a bigger problem than cancer. Yet it’s never talked about." Real life sets the tone of the album and hangs heavy over the early proceedings. Opener Flatliners is one of the year’s most churning guitar riffs before the song gets annihilated with drums and waves of feedback.
The tone is dark, the blackest of black. The Love Particle is chopped up with electronic stutters and the following movements (largely instrumental) create the most vividly intoxicating head spaces with stark guitar lines and broken beats. Then right out of the darkness comes Walking On Coronado, a moment of sublime picked guitars and electronic bleeps that is perhaps the most successful marrying of the two since The Postal Service 13 odd years ago. There is so much craft in the songs, all hugely evocative whilst balancing folk, metal, electronics and ambience wonderfully. Closing track Little Girl is an amazing ballad, and the first time you hear Pajo’s stark vocals in full flight. A remarkably intimate and emotional album. We’re pretty certain it is the LP we’ve listened to most of anything released in the ten and half months that precede it. A remarkable achievement, very highly recommended.
For all of you who have pre-orderd, and those of you who buy a copy so in the next few days, we're going to put you into the hat to win a very limited screen printed poster. It's on heavy card stock and measures 59cm x 30cm. They look the bomb.