Release Date: Sep 13, 2011
Record label: Moshi Moshi Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Pop, Twee Pop
If a unicorn break-dances through your room while you're listening to the second Slow Club record, don't freak out: These folk-punk mystics bring fairy-dusted heat in dangerous quantities. The duo – singer-guitarist Charles Watson and singer-drummer-guitarist Rebecca Taylor bridge the twee whimsy of Belle and Sebastian and the garage-y primacy of early Yeah Yeah Yeahs. At times, Watson and Taylor come off like billowy-sleeved naifs who might spend Saturday afternoons riding hither and fro through the marshes, but their Saturday nights clearly involve more carnal interests: "I can see you lookin' at me/You've got the brains, I've got the body," Taylor sings on "Where I'm Waking," as Watson's guitar tears a broadsword path through the club and toward the bedroom.
Is there a band who looked more likely to succumb to “second album syndrome” than Slow Club? Their first LP, Yeah So, was a delight, but it was full of the whimsical, innocent ideas of artists making their debut album, not yet jaded by the trials and tribulations of this business we call show. Yeah So whizzed along like it was powered by sherbert; even on the quieter and more reflective moments, it still felt like Slow Club were on the verge of a technicolour outburst. But we all get older, reality sets in and we can’t stay naive forever – Yeah So Mk II was never an option.
On Paradise, Slow Club remain a double-sided duo equally capable of heartbreaking folk ballads or brash indie pop, but their second album also shows how much they’ve grown from the Yeah, So? days. They don’t waste any time showing how much bigger and bolder they sound: the audacious opening track “Two Cousins” pairs Charles Watson and Rebecca Taylor's twinned vocals with bright keyboards, adding a cheery tinge to plaintive concerns like “where your heart goes when you die. ” They follow that with “If We’re Still Alive,” which is all call-and-response vocals and crashing rhythms that are anything but slow.
Slow Club’s debut album, 2009’s Yeah So, was everything you’d have expected from South Yorkshire’s definitive twee-folk duo, famed for their lively, shambling choruses and their use of a wooden chair as a piece of percussion. It split opinion. There were those who were energised by their delicately anarchic clashes of classic and bespoke arrangements, frivolous and sentimental lyrics, folk, pop, soul and rock‘n’roll hooks.
Slow Club's first album, Yeah So, was a twee, hyper-romantic delight, full of charming little indie folk songs ideally suited to mix tapes and teen television soundtracks. The Sheffield, England duo could have kept going in that direction indefinitely with potentially great commercial rewards, but instead they've opted to make a second album, Paradise, which dials down their perky sweetness and emphasizes rhythm and atmosphere with lyrics confronting more emotionally complicated subject matter. This isn't to say that Slow Club have become unrecognizable.
A sophomore album can fall anywhere between sounding exactly like the first album, (thus risking being boring) to being radically different, which takes the chance of losing fans from a band’s original release. English folk-pop duo Slow Club find a happy medium between the extremes. Their first release, 2009’s Yeah, So, was a composition of unorthodox melodic duets about love.
“Slow Club is for lovers!”. That’s what should be tattooed on every Slow Club record. As with their tough-titled but blushing 2009 debut Yeah, So, Paradise is for soul mates, valentines, hickies, singin’ in the rain, ‘huggin’ it out’, winged babies armed with bow and arrows and couples who are “lovers but also, actually [sighs], best friends”.
From the off, it’s clear that [a]Slow Club[/a] have changed. Opener ‘[b]Two Cousins[/b]’ sees the snot-folk Sheffield two-piece in reflective mode and ditching the guitars and drums combo for something more subtle. There’s no more yelling and yelping. ‘[b]Paradise[/b]’ is more reserved, with fewer in-jokes; it’s less smart-alec and less disposable.
Jessica Reedy It would be unfair to listen to “From the Heart” (Light/eOne), the debut album by Jessica Reedy — a runner-up on the BET gospel music reality competition “Sunday Best” — without hearing the praise. But where so much of modern gospel declares its faithfulness through volume and density, this mature and thoughtful album doesn’t call attention to its deep feeling. Instead, it’s proof of the vitality of adult-contemporary soul, even if romance isn’t much on Ms.
A snapshot of Slow Club's singularly impressive songwriting ability. Stephen Kelly 2011 Being a product of the age it was written, Slow Club's 2009 debut, Yeah So, dealt with the all too familiar space between adolescence and the oncoming storm of adulthood. A boy-girl duo who played a flower-adorned chair live, they were the polar opposite of what was coming out of post-Arctic Monkeys Sheffield.
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.