Slim Cessna's Auto Club is an alt-country institution that, sadly, I'm not familiar with. Fortunately, The Commandments According to SCAC is an excellent introduction for slackers like me. The Commandments feels like a full-throttle ride through a Stephen King novel. Familiar Americana musical tropes shift like quicksand, revealing lyrics that sound like they were written at the height of a fever (or whatever.) There does not seem to be a 1:1 relation to the Ten Commandments (unless a three-verse rumination on death's heads moths is a symbol of a vengeful Jehovah), but the overall effect reminds me of sitting in synagogue: much like Hebrew music, the songs on The Commandments feels dreary but seductive, simultaneously conveying awe, dread, and gratitude for the gift of life.
But above all else, this album is fun. While the subject matter might not appeal to you, SCAC's sense of experimentation will. This is a group of people who have been playing together for twenty-four years. You can hear them pushing each other to their limits, but at the end of the day, they navigate tempo changes, mid-song genre changes, and strange time signatures together. The Commandments According to SCAC is Slim Cessna's Auto Club's party -- and we're very fortunate to have been invited.
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