First things first. John Hughes, the mastermind behind the electronic unit known as Slicker is the son of movie director John Hughes (Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, etc). That said, John Hughes the younger is a creative genius in his own right. The proof is right here on We All Have A Plan (Hefty), Slicker's latest full-length, which
combines high voltage electronics with organic, human vocals. In addition to vocals that suggest an island feel, album opener "God Bless This Mess, This Test We Pass," is also heated up by flute, saxophone and trombone. With a title like "Knock Me Down Girl," which suggests 70's or 80's soul music, it's only fitting that the song should sound like the offspring of Cameo or Ohio Players. "Call Up All The Relief Now" actually stirs up a little tension with a string
section that made me think of early Laurie Anderson. "We All Had A Plan" is a brief, and somewhat bare, beat fest, and the even shorter "Decorate Your Walls," throws in rhymes courtesy of Elzhi. "Straight Mess" references the previously mentioned opening
number and "Can't Cope" effectively uses repetition and strings to bring the listener to the brink.
Sometimes you need to know the back-story before you can appreciate a movie, a TV show, a book or a CD. In the case of An Italian Story (Rhino/Belmondo), Daniele Luppi, who was raised in Italy on a steady diet of the soundtracks from the Italian films of the 60's and 70's (think Nino Rota, think Ennio Morricone, think Henry Mancini), composed a dozen songs in that swinging style and then actually tracked down the session players from that period to make his dream a reality. Before you can say "let's Watusi" or "do the Frug," these songs that are equal parts Paris discotheque ("Nightclub," "Telecinebeat") and Milan runway ("Fashion Party," "Photochic," "Hypermodels") have transported you back in time to the present, by way of the past and the future. Even without the intrusion of remixers, songs such as "SX 70" and the title track will inspire listeners to do The Swim, The Mashed Potato, or some variation. Impress your friends and acquaintances with this one.