Slow Club

Complete Surrender

Wichita

Jul 11, 2014 Issue #50 - June/July 2014 - Future Islands Bookmark and Share


Slow Club have never quite got the credit it deserves. Too fey to be hipster, too awkward to be mainstream, the Sheffield, U.K.-formed/London-based duo of Rebecca Taylor and Charles Watson has ghosted in and out of popular consciousness since 2006. At times, their chiming indie pop quivers neck hairs with spellbinding swathes of emotion, but it's always had the capacity to dissolve unnoticed into the background.

The upshot is that Slow Club has had the space to evolve to where it is today. The indie folk shanties of 2009's debut LP, Yeah So, were replaced by the more expansive pop-gauze of 2011's Paradise, without feeling like an unnaturally forced step. Album number three, Complete Surrender, represents another musical stepping stone for the band-and one that might just leverage them into higher climes.

Composed almost entirely of straight-laced instrumentation, the record homes in on moody soul pop motifs that simmer with conviction. The dark moonlight ambience that runs through the glistening "Wanderer Wandering" and the brass-parping brilliance of "Suffering You, Suffering Me" is symptomatic of a record that pays homage to the majesty of Motown, while retaining its indie pop edge.

Much of Complete Surrender's effect is down to Taylor's extraordinary vocal range. Rising into diva-like decibels during the bulbous symphonic cacophony of "The Queen's Nose," she summons the ghost of a smoothed-out Etta James. Yet, during the title track's paranoid thrum of bass and drum, she leads a sky-high falsetto charge that recalls the more extreme pleads of Alison Goldfrapp.

While there are arguably a couple of duds that could have been weeded outthe cumbersome folk twangs of "Paraguay and Panama" feels particularly misplacedComplete Surrender is replete with consistently outstanding moments. Having stepped out of the shadows, Slow Club is finally ready for some well-deserved credit. (www.slowclubband.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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