Review – Translate Slowly 1

Review – “Translate Slowly”. Jody Denberg. Texas Monthly, Dec. 1985, p. 192.

The real world is something to which Zeitgeist’s Translate Slowly (DB Recs) has only a tangential relationship. A dreamy soundscape filled with poetic imagery, foggy guitars, and both under- and overstated unconventional pop vocals- all courtesy of principal songwriters John Croslin and Kim Longacre- Translate Slowly is a good way to “turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream,” as John Lennon once sang. Like some of its peers in the American pop undergound, Zeitgeist avoids storytelling. Instead, it aims for an evocative approach, which succeeds on the folksy “Freight Train Rain” and the wistful “Cowboys” but fails elsewhere when stilted lines pop through the dense blanket of jangly guitars. A too-even-handed mix on Translate Slowly robs the guitars of their bite; still, the electrified folk and rock on the debut album make it a worthwhile investment. Translate Slowly leaves me looking forward to the next Zeitgeist LP-one, I hope, with less filler and crisper production.