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JFH Music Review

Slick Shoes
The Biggest and the Best

Artist Info: Discography
Album length: 18 tracks: 44 minutes, 15 seconds
Street Date: November 18, 2003

After nine years, seven band member changes, five albums, two EP's, and one record label change, it was time for Slick Shoes to release a greatest hits album. This greatest hits album was a way for Tooth & Nail Records to say farewell to a band that was one of the best punk bands on their label. The Biggest and the Best contains songs from every album that they ever released on Tooth & Nail Records. So that means, if you are looking for tracks from their newest record Far From Nowhere or their split EP release with Autopilot Off (then known as Cooter), then you will be disappointed. However, if you're looking for some new tracks, some previously hard to get tracks, or just some of your favorite tracks all on the same album, then this is the Slick Shoes album for you.

The album starts out with the new track "Pretend To Be The Same," which starts the record off with a solid musical arrangement and Ryan Kepke's best vocals on any of their albums yet. This song reminds you why this band has been around for so long. "Pretend To Be The Same" could either be about a relationship that is changing even though neither one wants it to, or it could be about how the lives of the band members are changing, but they use the band to pretend that things are the same. The next song is another new track titled "Ruled Out." "Ruled Out" is easily the worst of the new tracks because it is a generic punk song about not being mean and losing your sanity. I have no problem with a punk song sounding generic as long as it has some substance behind the lyrics or is fun and creative, but this has none of those things and is easily forgettable. The last new track is "Spleen Puncher," which is a pure punk rock song with Ryan practically screaming all of the lyrics. This song shows the band's frustration with music critics with lyrics like "so hide behind your computer screen collecting all your stones, but in the end you won't be the judge of what I've done." The aggressive sound works very well for them and makes you wish that they would have tried out this style more often.

"I Knew" follows "Spleen Puncher" and is a typical pop punk about a girl who the lead singer believes is the one for him. This song is a disappointment because of its lack of originality. One of the best songs I have heard come from any punk band follows. The song is "Alone," which is a touching song about being away from someone that you love. Even though that sounds like a typical punk song, it is done in a way that makes it sound unique. "Angel" is a about a girl believed to be an "angel without wings." The song is definitely better then "I Knew," but following such a strong song like "Alone," it just seems shallow and uninspired. The fun "Friday Night" follows, which is about the freedom that high school students have on a Friday evening. While the song is fun, it lacks the catchiness of MxPx's "Punk Rawk Show." "Last Round" is a strange song for Slick Shoes in that, while the lyrics are thoughtful, the music is bland and generic which unfortunately makes the song forgettable. "Joe's Sick," which is a classic from Slick Shoes debut album, follows, featuring the band's classic garage punk sound and Ryan's unique vocals. On "East On Tracks," Kepke's vocals sound almost identical to a young Mike Herrera. If you can get past the vocals then you are in for the most Christian track on the entire record, with lyrics that proclaim "I need your strength to guide me" and "I know with your love I will find peace." "My Ignorance" is one of the most thoughtful songs on the entire album. "Constancy" is another solid punk song about how God has shown us grace although we don't deserve it. After that, you hear another solid track called "For Better, For Worse," which is about how despite things in our life changing, everything will be alright because God is in control of our life. A true gem on the album is "Peace Of Mind," which has Ryan singing about how he is worrying about things going on in his life and how he is going to turn over his life to God. It is catchy and has one of the best uses of talking instead of singing in the song that I have ever heard. "Fall" and "Last" are the next two songs and they are both classic garage punk from the band's debut album. "Five O Grind" is the first of two songs from Slick Shoes' hard to find self-titled debut EP. "Five O Grind" has some very strange vocals from Ryan, but terrific guitar playing and drumming for such a young band. Ryan's strange vocals continue on the next song, "My So Called Real World," along with the surprisingly good guitar and drum playing.

The biggest problem with this album is that Slick Shoes just does not have eighteen hit songs. A lot of the songs on this album just seem like they would be fillers on better albums. It is interesting to hear how Ryan Kepke's voice has matured from album to album. While it's interesting to hear Kepke's voice mature, it also hurts the album since they decided not to organize the album by keeping all of the albums songs in order by the album they came from, and it makes the album feel rather disjointed. The Biggest and the Best is really just for the fans of Slick Shoes or hardcore punk fans who want to hear where one of the best Christian punk bands came from.

JFH Reader Review: Review date: 12/16/08, written by James Chase Lamberth for

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. Record Label: Tooth & Nail Records
. Album length: 18 tracks: 44 minutes, 15 seconds
. Street Date: November 18, 2003
. Buy It:

  1. Pretend To Be The Same (Previously Unreleased)
  2. Ruled Out (Previously Unreleased)
  3. Spleen Puncher (Previously Unreleased)
  4. I Knew
  5. Alone
  6. Angel
  7. Friday Night
  8. Last Round
  9. Joe's Sick
  10. East On Tracks
  11. My Ignorance
  12. Constancy
  13. For Better, For Worse
  14. Peace Of Mind
  15. Fall
  16. Last
  17. Five O Grind
  18. My So Called Real World



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