James Hrabak's Slack Armada is shoegaze-inspired instrumental music. But to call it anything so handy, such as downtempo or electronica, would be doing these fine sounds a severe disservice because this music is so much more than such mere genre descriptions can fully summarize.
A track titled "Your Majesty," which mixes funky, nerdy sounds with a continually evolving sonic palate, is one of the clear highlights of this brief, four-song EP. As its title suggests, the song's melody nicely works in a majestic feel, over a fluctuating rhythmic base. There are moments when its melody bursts open with pure beauty, much like the sun breaking through on a cloudy, dreary day.
For "Looper," Hrabak breaks out the guitars to winning effect. He then creates a pulsing electric guitar groove that makes the absolute best of a relatively minimalistic melody. Although none of this EP's four recordings feature vocals, this one particular track sure comes off readymade for something sung to it.
Everything on this short release is enjoyably unique. "Escape Velocity," for instance, rolls to a disco groove with a beat that sounds a little like the rhythm track to Blondie's "Heart of Glass," yet takes that simple beat and moves various soft industrial sounds in and out of the mix.
Slack Armada proves how inventive creating instrumental music can truly be. Unlike, say, smooth jazz, which is the ultimate in compositional laziness, Hrabak is like a child with a Lego set where the sky's the limit when it comes to inventiveness.