Track Reviews

‘By the Sword’

Slash

EMI

It’s been a rocky road for Slash since he left Guns N’ Roses in 1996, but it’s all been worth it for “By the Sword,” with vocals by Andrew Stockdale of Wolfmother. A twangy Western guitar slithers through the intro until Stockdale cuts loose with a Robert Plant wail, the signal for Slash to unleash a bluesy sonic assault — when suddenly, it all cuts out. His guitar glides over a basic cymbal beat before roaring with the rest of the band into a rock ‘n’ roll cacophony, a Guitar Hero-sized solo that reminds everyone why the man in the top hat matters.

After a lead single like “Sword,” the only question is whether the rest of the upcoming album — which features a different guest vocalist on each track — can keep the momentum running through Kid Rock and Fergie cameos. 8/10

— Bryan Kim

Staff Writer

‘World Sick’

Broken Social Scene

Arts & Crafts Productions

In a sound-byte era where shorter is always better, tracks like Broken Social Scene’s “World Sick” take time to find a groove with every instrument. Sparse, echoing keys accompanied by a faint sample of flowing water start off the parade, with a simple drumbeat and crystal-clear guitars stirring up the calm like a stone skipping across a stream. Understated vocals quicken the pace, guitars and bass soar while the drums clash with fury — all before the ensemble falls into a final crescendo and fades to silence. Though the track sometimes broaches on Angels and Airwaves soundalike, close listeners will appreciate the refinement of an otherwise pedestrian concept. 6/10

— Imran Manji

Staff Writer

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