San Diego artist Sluka released in January 2016 his 11th studio album titled Introversions. The ambitious singer and songwriter is planning on filming a music video for each of the 13 tracks, with a blu ray release of the entire project slated for November 2016 to coincide with a European club tour. The collection, however, seems to better suit a lounge than a club. It is overall soothing and can both capture listeners’ attention or be part of a cozy, comfortable auditory background.
Only one of the songs on this album is an uptempo one, and it feels quite à propos that it is the one titled “A San Diego Zoo”. It is a cheerful number built on only vocals and a couple of acoustic guitars, and it contains a sweetness reminiscent of a child’s joy during a fun day watching animals.
On the other end of the spectrum are the album’s slow numbers. “Valentine Lies” is a keyboard-heavy, 1980s-sounding rock track featuring breathy vocals that travel down one’s neck. The ballad “Paralyzed” builds on the vocals and guitars that open it with a piano, then a tambourine, and finally with string-like keyboard effects. “Fear of Ordinary Life” is sweet and soft, with a lot of strings that make it quite poignant. The simple piano melody at the beginning sounds as if it could be played with one finger and the plucked strings featured throughout give it a certain innocence and vulnerability that is associated with the fear of ordinary life.
Most of Introversions’s tracks lie in the mid-tempo range. “Sunday’s Child” is upbeat and hopeful, with echoing vocals that seem to surround the listener. The toe-tapping “Doctor Strangelove” is a fun song with a catchy electric guitar opening. “Beautiful” has an electronic Latin vibe. It almost throbs but in a soothing way, a little like hearing someone’s heartbeat through their chest. While it is an overall fun number, it has a bit of a dark undertone because of the sometimes sedate vocals. “Higher” is alternatively melancholic and uplifting. It could have been anthemic, but the soft and soothing vocals—enhanced by the female backing vocals—come off more as a dynamic meditational experience more than anything else.
“Sadder Than Sad” is remarkably upbeat for a track with such a name; one might at first think that this number can’t be taken seriously because of the discrepancy between the title and its mood. However, I remembered a friend of mine explaining that when he is sad, he doesn’t feel dark and blue—his depression comes as a cloud that still allowed for a day to seem normal when in fact it wasn’t. This is the feeling I connected to this song; it sounds like a normal upbeat track, but then you listen more closely to the melody and the lyrics and you realise that something is wrong.
Introversions is an album of songs that listeners can interpreted in many ways, making it necessary to listen to at least a handful of time. It is available for streaming on Bandcamp. Music videos are available for viewing on YouTube. More information about the artist is available on his official website.