The gist Ian Black steps out from the shadows of Field Music and becomes a Slug The music Firstly lets get the Field Music stuff out of the way. It's been well documented that this debut album from Slug features Peter and David Brewis, it's been produced by David Brewis and it's released on Memphis Industries (home of Field Music). Ian Black was also in Field Music for a while, touring with them as bassist. It would be almost impossible to not hear traces of Sunderland's finest with that sort of backing behind you, but there's a great deal more to Slug than the sum of its parts. Black is an eccentric presence, if you've seen them, or seen any clips of them playing live you'll already know this, but that eccentricity somehow comes to the fore even more on record. A rare thing to capture on disc. Every note seems to be engineered precisely to form something that is teetering on the edge of madness. There are touches of Queen (listen to the harmonies on "Eggs and Eyes"), Sparks and Genesis all battling for space on an LP that still somehow sounds quite sparse. It's not often that you'll hear heavy metal riffs alongside dreamy steel drum interludes, but for Black it's all par for the course. In fact, there are many glaringly obvious heavy metal influences on display here but they are quite wisely pared down to mere glimpses. Ripe is the quite brilliant new phase in the career of an exciting creative mind. Listen to "Running To Get Past Your Heart" - a 1960s spy theme tune with a great big dirty bass riff on top. Is there anything else that needs to be said about it? "Peng Peng" - grand piano ballad that sounds like an out-take from Mansun's Six. I really like Mansun's Six so this is a good thing. "Cockeyed Rabbit Wrapped In Plastic" - a guitar solo that sounds like Iron Maiden slowed down to a slug's pace.