Slow Club-‘Paradise’ album review

Originally published on The Quietus September 8, 2011

Slow Club’s debut Yeah So, epitomised the purgatory of near adulthood, those years of fumbled petting and 20-20, of developing yourself but, perhaps, never being taken quite seriously. That record marked a band who had a runaway bundle of folk-pop excitement with the future on its side and an identity to carve.

But on from Yeah So, Slow Club are discarding their youthfulness: no more bum fluff and whimsy for Charles Watson and Rebecca Taylor, for they seem to have sex on their minds in the form of the obtuse desire of Bunny Monroe and the sultry persuasion of Jessica Rabbit. It’s in the lyrics – on ‘Where I’m Waking’ Taylor croons: “I can see you looking at me, you got the brains I’ve got the body” – and in the music too. There’s a hint of Lynch in the saucy undertow and disjointed sparseness. The vocals, meanwhile, are haunting and distant. Contrasted with the drums it feels is if the whole could easily disintegrate into a seedy buxom fantasy, as the cover by those former Arab Strap men suggested.

What projects Paradise as such a different affair from the debut is the maturity in their voices. Slow Club duets always celebrate closely balanced harmonies but Watson now exudes a masculine vibrato, as heard on ‘The Dog’, and Taylor resembles a sugar-coated Janis Joplin. On the Watson-led ‘Never Look Back’ a tremolo guitar kicks in before Taylor’s howling voice rapturously explodes as though she has all the blues, and has them real bad. Furthermore on ‘Hackney Marsh’ she ranges from the delicate to operatic, while ‘Beginners’ starts with a Frostrup seduce before dancing through the octaves.

Continued here.

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