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A Slice of Life – Tabula Rasa

by Violeta

I was talking to a friend the other day about how in this 2022 that is about to end I don’t think that I have listened to a lot of post-punk comprared to other years, when you could make quite an interesting annual selection. It’s true that we have reviewed some great records, but it seems that other genres have had more prominence this season. So it’s a pleasure to listen to this second album by Belgian post-punk band A Slice of Life, with those classic references to bands we love so much but with an updated sound.

Tabula Rasa continues what they started with their debut, 2018’s acclaimed Restless, adding more nuance and broadening the band’s palette. It has been released on both CD and vinyl, although the CD edition has a bonus track, a remix of “Coraline” by another band we really like, The Foreign Resort. We met A Slice of Life at W-Fest 2019 and they were the first band we interviewed for the 2020 edition, which sadly never happened. We finally got to see them live last year at Sinner’s Day where we could already hear some of the tracks from the album we are going to review today.

Tabula Rasa starts off on the right foot with “2 Faced”, a powerful post-punk track with shoegaze influences that serves as the perfect introduction to the album. We continue and already in a first listen you can distinguish some really great tracks: “Sweet Darkness” is that kind of songs that works perfectly live but that you can also enjoy at home at full volume. It’s a powerful song with blazing guitars, a good chorus and very catchy. On the other hand, “Matterhorn” is a quite original composition in which the band approaches more punkrock terrains, with a quite different register from the singer and rather cheerful thanks in part to Nelson Da Silva’s bass that will make your body move.

“Seven Days” was one of the songs that stuck in our memory from their performance at the last Sinner’s Day. It is a powerful and dark hit, quite dramatic in which we can find the influence of The Cure, one of Dirk Vreys’ favourite bands, who also sings with other members of A Slice of Life in a tribute band to the legendary band. It was written after the loss of his parents and we must also highlight the guitar work of Guy Wilssens and Wim Kempenaers. “Goodbye” is a passionate slow song, sung perfectly by Dirk with an intense and painful interpretation. It also has a spectacular crescendo. Another great composition is “Cavern” with a beautiful chorus with female vocals. Possibly the best track on the album and one of the best of the year. “Anywhere but home” is another powerful track like the next one in the tracklist, “Run For Cover”.

And we return to another of the tracks we heard on Sinners day, “What doesn’t kill me”, another great composition with a magnificent way of creating tension and good singing from Dirk. We have some good guitar playing in “In your Shade”, a more upbeat track. And we get to another slow track with the intense “Fortress Of Solitude”, which as the band has confessed in an interview, brings new atmospheres that were not present in the first album. It’s a depressive track about alienation, and another of the album’s strongest compositions. We end up with another punk song titled “Animal Instint” to leave you with a smile on your face.

Tabula Rasa is a great album and I know that as much as I praise it today, I will end up liking it even more when I listen to it quietly at home during this Christmas.

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