Album Review: Slow Club – One Day All of This Won’t Matter Anymore

By on Wednesday, 10th August 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

ONE_DAY_SC_SLEEVECharles Watson and Rebecca Taylor are celebrating their tenth anniversary as Slow Club in 2016. TGTF’s coverage of the joint venture dates back to Slow Club’s early days in 2008, ahead of their debut album release ‘Yeah So’ in 2009. We also covered the pair in live performance around their second LP ‘Paradise’ and their subsequent appearance at SXSW 2012. My own first taste of Slow Club came two summers ago in 2014, with a review of their soulful, slow burning third album ‘Complete Surrender’.

Formerly based in their mutually native Sheffield, Slow Club have parted ways geographically while preparing their new fourth album ‘One Day All of This Won’t Matter Anymore’. Watson has transitioned to a home in London, while Taylor found herself immersed in the arts community of Margate. Working with such physical distance between them might have made the already challenging task of mingling their rather disparate writing styles even more difficult than on their previous records. Taylor admits that “we weren’t as on the same page about what we wanted this time, we were sort-of blindly going into it”.

The pair attempted to resolve their disconnect by travelling to Richmond, Virginia to work with Southern soul producer Matthew E. White and his house band at Spacebomb Studios. The band’s easy, laid-back groove weaves through the entire album, lending an organic kind of cohesion to what might otherwise have been a jarring back-and-forth between Watson’s mellow detachment and Taylor’s grittier, more intensely personal songs.

Watson’s gentle vocals find a comfortable rapport with the band straight away in the first half of the album. The light, shuffling rhythm and bass groove of his track ‘Where the Light Gets Lost’, are gracefully ornamented with twinkling synth keys and gospel backing vocals, while early single ‘Ancient Rolling Sea’ features a deep, reverberant bass rhythm underpinning the languorous lilt of Watson’s vocal lead. The irony in the lyrics of his mid-album track ‘Tattoo’ (“I hear that guitar music is coming back here any day”) fit rather amusingly into the bright synth-pop bounce of the musical arrangement.

By contrast, Taylor’s vocals feel slightly awkward as she delivers the rapid-fire lines “you can tell me you’re not like this / staring down the pages of the shit you’ve missed / hoping you’ll find a way to change” of country-tinged track ‘In Waves’ (video just below). Her voice is more natural in the vocal acrobatics of the song’s chorus, but her best tracks come later on the album, including the sultry blues of ‘Give Me Some Peace’ and the hypnotic slow ballad ‘The Jinx’. The album ostensibly closes with the piercing guitar melody of ‘Let the Blade Do the Work’, but Taylor’s lead vocal makes a final statement in the eponymous hidden track ‘One Day All of This Won’t Matter Anymore’.

Though the musical arrangements on ‘One Day All of This Won’t Matter Anymore’ are deliberately and effectively integrated by the backing of the Spacebomb band, this album does lack the carefree fluidity of ‘Complete Surrender’. After 10 years of collaboration, Taylor and Watson now seem to be working from opposite directions, and while White’s production managed to bring them together here, I could see the pair branching out into solo projects in the near future.

7/10

Slow Club’s fourth LP ‘One Day All of This Won’t Matter Anymore’ is due out next Friday, the 19th of August, on Moshi Moshi Records. TGTF’s complete previous coverage of Slow Club is right this way.

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