Review: Slow Club – Yeah So
Slow Club have been around for a while now – nestled comfortably in London’s prolific anti-folk scene, they have become a live staple thanks to their joyous stage banter and Rebecca’s predilection to unconventional percussion – including furniture and bottle-tops – their riotous, youthful exuberance challenging their sedate, finger-plucking folk peers.
It’s easy to pin Slow Club down as some kind of folk Ting Tings – but the devil’s in the detail in their heavily anticipated debut.
The album starts off with the sticky ‘When I Go’ – who’s aching syrupiness would be unbearable, if it wasn’t nicely counterbalanced by some good ol’ adolescent desolateness – similar to fellow folkie Alessi’s Ark’s ‘Over The Hill’, where twinkling xylophones and cooing vocals veil adulterous lyrics.
In ‘When I Go’ overly-precious lyrics about marriage reveal a dead-end love affair – It hopes that ‘there’s some childish spark still alive’ but laments ‘…You’ve got your family and I’ve got mine’/
The album’s overwhelming theme, is, surprisingly, the same kind of doomed romances – ‘Sorry about the Doom’ sighs ‘…there isn’t a chance that I’ll get to be in your arms soon’ and ‘Giving Up on Love’ is self-explanatory – despite Slow Club’s enthusiasm, their lyrics betray a kind of battered, love-sick word-weariness.
On ‘Yeah So’ Slow Club seem unwilling to be pigeonholed into playing the same, joyous rockabilly folk that first garnered them attention, and the album’s newer material is of an altogether more gentle persuasion, much like fellow folkie Emmy The Great – this works best on the lilting sweetness of ‘Apples and Pairs’ (In which the chemistry between Rebecca & Charlie is almost tangible – despite there being no real-life relationship on the cards) and on the mournful battle-cry of ‘Come on Youth’, which pleads ‘Come on youth, don’t give in/ Like the very last bowling pin’ – but slumps slightly on the dull ‘Dance ‘Til The Morning Light’ ; the gently-plucked guitar line buckling under the weight of SC’s verbosity. Even in their newer material’s better moments, it has nothing on some of Slow Club’s previous ventures – such as the infectious raucousness of ‘Me and You’ and the spartan simplicity of ‘Let’s Fall Back in Love’ – A good compromise is single ‘Trophy Room’, who’s meandering guitar-line rises to the kind of big, joyous chorus that made Slow Club’s name.
Overall, ‘Yeah So’ is an amiable affair – blissful singles ‘Because We’re Dead’ and ‘It Doesn’t Have To Be Beautiful’ are superb; the former sees Charlie and Rebecca trading off nonsensical rhymes like a hormone-addled Dr. Seuss – but, unfairly, the best moment comes in hidden track ‘Boys On Their Birthdays’; Rebecca’s deadpan delivery of the hilarious line ‘The bones inside my shins are all crumbling/ It’s from all the crunking I’ve been doing’ is priceless.
Above all, ‘Yeah So’ is a winsome debut; only a handful of flaws is almost unheard of in a debut of a band as young as SC, and it’s hard to be churlish when the overall effect is so endearing.