Saturday, 23 February 2013

Saturday Spotlight: Slow Club

As seems to be the case with many of my favorite artists, I came across Slow Club entirely by accident. Slow Club, an English indie folk-rock duo comprised of Rebecca Taylor and Charles Watson, has been compared to Fleetwood Mac and The White Stripes - the latter comparison has emerged from the fact that Taylor frequently plays drums and Watson frequently plays guitar. (They're not romantically involved, as far as I know, which seems to add to their chemistry rather than detract from it.)

In spring of last year, I was watching a live performance by British band The Clientele on the YouTube channel Bandstand Busking and, once the video was over, clicked on one of the links on the side. It led to this video from the same series, a performance of Slow Club's song "It Doesn't Have To Be Beautiful."

Recorded in 2009, the video led me to seek out the band's debut record, Yeah So, released that same year. I really enjoyed the album; everything that I'd liked about the video I watched - the duo's energy, their catchy melodies and lyrics that were charming but not overly sentimental - Yeah So had in spades. My first impressions of the band were reaffirmed as soon as I heard the album's opening track, the wonderful "When I Go."

Slow Club also put out a Christmas EP in 2009 called Christmas, Thanks for Nothing. Despite its pessimistic title, the record featured some festive covers and excellent originals, the best of which was the lovely "Christmas TV."

I then checked out the group's second album Paradise, released only the year before, and what had been a minor infatuation became a serious crush. Slow Club seemed to have grown by leaps and bounds within the short span of two years. "Where I'm Waking" in particular paired one of the best lyrical come-ons in recent memory - "I can see you looking at me / You've got the brains, I've got the body" with an infectious chorus and joyous instrumentation.

If I had come across the band earlier, Paradise would have been a definite contender for my top 10 records of 2011. I felt like Paradise transcended Slow Club's 'indie folk-rock' label with its incorporation of many unusual sonic elements, the burst of saxophone halfway through "Hackney Marsh" and the handclaps and electronic beats in "You, Earth or Ash" among them.

It appears that Taylor and Watson are in the process of recording a new album, and I can honestly say it's one of my most anticipated releases of 2013. How I came across Slow Club is a testament, I think, to the important role the internet plays in discovering bands and musicians one probably wouldn't have come across any other way.

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