Release Date: Aug 19, 2016
Record label: Moshi Moshi Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
It turns out Matthew E. White -- and his studio in Richmond, Virginia -- was the glue needed to bring them together, allowing them to forget the individual directions pulling at them and instead bring both sets of ideas before the in-house band for a cohesive compromise. To call it a struggle isn't to undermine the process, sometimes it's just a fact of life.
Slow Club‘s third album, Complete Surrender, seemed to be the record that would fire them into the mainstream. Full of pop-soul classics and heartfelt ballads, highlighting Rebecca Taylor’s belter of a voice and all wrapped up in the veneer of the heartbreak that comes with the end of a relationship, it was one of the classic break-up albums, and, in a parallel universe, has been number one for almost as long as that Drake song was. Here, though, it went shamefully unrecognised, not troubling the charts nor picking up a Mercury Prize nomination.
Sheffield duo Slow Club (multi-instrumentalists Rebecca Taylor and Charles Watson) burst into the hearts of indie lovers everywhere with 2009’s Yeah So, an album that veered winningly between giddy folk-pop and lovelorn ballads while retaining a considerable amount of the mischievous, irreverent charm that saw them become a real live draw. Follow-ups Paradise and Complete Surrender saw the band’s palette broaden considerably as they matured. Their preoccupation with love and loss remained, while their fondness for classic pop flourished, with Motown and 70s singer-songwriter fare coming to the fore.
Sheffield, England-based duo Slow Club’s fifth full-length effort One Day All Of This Won’t Matter Anymore, is an album that defines the moniker of the group. Many of the songs on this LP are indeed rather unhurried, yet they feel purposeful and determined. An example would be the opening track “Where The Light Gets Lost.” The five and a half minute track focuses on creating a somber, subdued mood, and features some of the best work on the album.
With the recording of their latest album, English duo Rebecca Taylor and Charles Watson of Slow Club embraced the notion that just because someone's not a member of your Club doesn't mean you can't play well together..
Like Slow Club’s previous albums, One Day All of This Won’t Matter Anymore finds the British duo of Rebecca Taylor and Charles Watson trying on new sounds. This time, they traveled to Spacebomb Studios in Richmond, VA., where producer Matthew E. White enlisted the studio’s house band to provide the template. The core of the Spacebomb house band also helped give Natalie Prass her slow-burning variation on classic soul for her 2015 self-titled debut.
The early singles which defined Slow Club’s reputation were kind of red herrings. Listen to something like ‘Giving Up On Love’, and you’d think that Slow Club were basically a power-pop duo – peppy beats, high tempos, and sugar-rush boy-girl vocals. But this song was a bit of an anomaly. The most consistent undercurrent of Slow Club’s music – across four albums now – has been traditional blues and country influences, and it’s never been more in the foreground than it’s been on One Day None Of This Will Matter Any More.
From the cutesy antifolk of their 2009 debut Yeah So via the darkly romantic indie of 2011’s Paradise to the retro soul of 2014’s Complete Surrender, Sheffield duo Slow Club have made switches of style their essence. This time around, songwriters and multi-instrumentalists Charles Watson and Rebecca Taylor found their ideas diverging, and turned to Spacebomb Records kingpin Matthew E White and his house band to help them forge a unified record. Spacebomb’s rich, melancholic country-soul sound suits them, particularly on Taylor’s powerfully raw In Waves and Come On Poet and Watson’s smoothly spellbinding Ancient Rolling Sea.
Sheffield two-piece Slow Club have come a long way since their 2009 debut, ‘Yeah So’. Comprised of 12 tracks of sweet indie-pop, it was an aesthetic that earned the band deserved early praise. But it would have ultimately worn thin, had the duo not built and expanded upon it every record since. Unsurprisingly, ‘One Day All Of This Won’t Matter Any More’ is the furthest removed from their debut yet.
Charles Watson and Rebecca Taylor relocated to Matthew E White’s Spacebomb Studios in Virginia to make their fourth album. While escaping familiar locations has served to align their sound with world-weary Americana – enhanced here by White’s in-house band – there is something amiss: the friction that once made their music blossom has gone. After their last album set out some lofty ambitions, this one feels like a creative plateau.
Depending on how your glass is filled, a title like One Day All Of This Won't Matter Anymore could promise some pretty gloomy prospects – but Slow Club strike for a tentative, silver-lined optimism on their fourth LP. Charles Watson and Rebecca Taylor remain a two-piece, but see their sound swell in size with huge arrangements abetted by the Spacebomb Studio house band, and covered in gloss by producer Matthew E White. This roomier fit suits them, too; Slow Club are right at home cushioned by glamorous, morose choral vocals and expansive soundscapes.
As many rash souls have learned to their cost, bringing new people into a relationship is a terrific way to encourage tears, rancour and difficult conversations over who gets to keep the cat. But sometimes, improbably, a big old chap with a beard is the perfect tonic to freshen things up a bit. Rebecca Taylor and Charles Watson have been at the pop game for a good decade now and are presumably pretty much sick of each other.
When you’ve made the album your whole career seemed to have been building towards, where do you go next? If true pop perfection is ultimately unattainable, Slow Club can at least console themselves with the knowledge that they came pretty damn close to it a couple of years ago. The Sheffield duo’s earlier work had been replete with promise and Complete Surrender pretty much universally delivered on it. There were big, brassy pop songs (“Suffering You, Suffering Me”, “The Pieces”), moments of high drama (that string section on the title track) and sparse ballads, too, that gave Rebecca Taylor free reign to turn in the vocal takes of her life.
Slow Club’s latest album, One Day All Of This Won’t Matter Any More, languishes instead of soars. That’s partly by design: The album is filled with dark, midtempo tunes that veer between sleepy and ponderous, an unusual path for a group that, despite its name, has written some exuberant music. Most of the album’s tracks come close to the four-minute mark, which is occasionally a wonderfully deliberate journey, but too often feels like the songs were stretched out past their limits.