I am always looking for new bands to add to my already large library of music. It’s always funny to see how I manage to find a new band. Well new to me anyway. I like to read a lot of different music sites, and I get a couple music magazines. One of the most amazing things that has really helped me figure out what I like and don’t like is Spotify. Before Spotify, I would download cd after cd without knowing if I truly really liked them. I can remember trying to download albums, having them fail, and trying again. A few days would go by before I could actually get the whole cd. Then I would sit down to listen to it, and I’d find that it totally wasn’t worth the wait. It would be a huge disappointment. The past few months have been great since finding spotify. I typically go on every morning to see if some of the albums that have been reviewed are actually worth it. It has at least revolutionized the way I download music. Slow Club was a band found through these methods. First, I saw a little write up on them on a music site, and later I read a little review of them in my magazine. Listening to them on Spotify only further convinced me.
Slow club features the musical stylings of Charles Watson and Rebecca Taylor. That’s right, just like Matt & Kim, The White Stripes, Mates of State, Sleigh Bells, etc…, this group only has two members. Like some of those groups, this one has Watson taking over the guitar duties and Taylor dominating the drum duties. They both share the responsibility on vocals; however, unlike their previous album, Paradise has Taylor taking over the dominate vocal duties. Although only their second album, this album has them growing quite a bit from their previous effort. Here they manage to be slightly more reflective and mature.
The album opens with the song “Two Cousins”. This song is driven by both Taylor’s drumming and singing, as well as, some pretty catchy keyboards. Here the pair manage to create a huge sound that I doubt could be recreated with just the two of them live. Of course, I haven’t seen them, so I suppose that is next on my list of things to do. I like how nearly every verse that is sung ends with a high, almost falsetto, tinge. The drums follow the same rhythmic driving sound through out the entirety of the song. However, the drums that drive the song don’t become boring either. They actually help the song keep an almost danceable quality to it. Overall, it is a really powerful way to open the album.
Slow Club does both the upbeat and slow songs really well. “If We’re Still Alive”, the second song on the album, also follows the catchy quality that the first song builds on. Once again, Taylor’s vocals and drumming is really relied on to start the song off; however, unlike the last song, we get more of Watson’s back-up singing to assist in harmonizing. It really helps to create a more harmonious and less jarring feel that you get out of the first song. “Where I’m Waking” has a little more balance in the instrument department. Once again Taylor takes over the singing duties, while Watson provides the harmony. I think I like this one a lot because it bounces between the very loud and very quiet aspects of the band. Watson does manage to work his way into the main singing duties a little here; however, it also helps to show why he more handles the harmonizing duties. Taylor’s voice is so loud and powerful, and his approach is much more soft.
The album manages to work in a lot of great softer material as well. “Hackney Marsh” is a much more stripped down song.
Starting with a simple quiet guitar, both members come in with a full on harmony that really blends well and leaves the guitar in the distant background. Here the chorus is belted out without the music really being affected too much. However, midway through, there is a saxophone solo that adds an interesting element to the song. “You, Earth or Ash” is another fine example of the groups ability to strip down their sound. Here the music remains simple and mostly dominated by the female vocals. This one is slightly more melodic than the previous song, and is definitely slightly more ambient as well. Interestingly, “Horses Jumping” is the longest song on the album and is the only song where Slow Club really features their male vocals. This song is a little over ten minutes long, and therefore, also ends up feeling kind of like a few different songs all strung together. I, however, like this format as it shows the groups true diversity.
Slow Club is a really good band that I think is truly beginning to develop their sound a lot more. I wasn’t familiar with their first album too much, but through the use of Spotify, I was able to look at how they have developed since their first album. They vary up their musical stylings a lot more on this album, and they seem to understand a little more where their strengths lie. I’m very hopeful that this group will only continue their success.
Teacher Grade: B