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

10 Sep

Though most people haven’t been paying attention, Slow Club have quietly become one of England’s most dependable groups. Four albums in and not a single howler, they go from strength to strength whilst subtly but distinctively pushing and pulling at their boundaries; adding and taking away, inflating and reducing to make something new. From the chirpy alt-folk of their debut, to the hushed lullabies of ‘Paradise’ and the soulful stomp of ‘Complete Surrender’ (one of the very best power pop records of recent times – greatly underrated). Slow Club continue to evolve with sass and style.

This time around they’ve teamed up with the eminently respectable Matthew E. White of Spacebomb Records, a highly regarded songwriter and producer in his own right who was behind the sound of one of last year’s most memorable records, Natalie Prass’ self titled debut. His work here is less obviously showy, utilising a core band of five principal players and a traditional set up of drums, bass, guitar, organ. If you were expecting the strings and horns that have become both his and Slow Club’s trademarks then you will be surprised by their absence here. The arrangements are rooted around soulful, soothing sounds and beautiful top line melodies.

‘One Day None of this Will Matter’ is essentially the nocturnal continuation of ‘Complete Surrender’. That album sounded out how you feel on a warm summer day. The guitars were dripping wet with reverb, the vocals were soulful and sweet, the arrangements were lively but somewhat sultry. Lyrically it was all overblown lust and sensuality. ‘One Day…’ On the other hand moves things on by a few hours. The sun has gone down but it’s still cool enough to sit outside. Bottles of wine have been opened. The mood is more relaxed, life moves that little bit slower. The arrangements are dry, the harmonies are less pronounced and the melodies meander and saunter to your ear.

This is not an album that makes any grand claims of itself. It starts off with two of its slowest and least impactful songs and only gradually builds in to something more self-assured and, eventually, euphoric. The friendship between songwriters Rebecca Taylor and Charles Watson Is at the heart of the record. The harmonies, already reduced on ‘Complete Surrender’, are pushed further out of the picture, as the two songwriters increasingly work more comfortably in singular spaces. As on the last record, it often feels like they are singing to one another, often dishing out advice, concern or offering words of comfort. The big take away from ‘Complete Surrender’ was that strength can be drawn from friendship, especially in times of romantic complication. On ‘One Day’ the message is similar, with a more anxious tone.

By its very nature ‘One Day…’ Is not an especially memorable album; its gentle tempos, sleepy mood and aversion to obvious hooks aren’t conducive to making a lasting impact. But in those moments where the songs live with you, it is a delightful record of a type. One that doesn’t give its secrets over easily and doesn’t demand your undivided attention. Taylor’s songs in particular are gorgeous in a slow moving kind of way. ‘In Waves’ has a nice, rolling rhythm and moaning slide guitars, ‘Rebecca Casanova’ features heartbreaking lyrics over what sound like wind chimes. ‘Champion’ is a fearsome ballad full of cutting self analysis and a classic ascending melody in which she sings ‘I can’t keep up with myself, I’m finding it too hard to be myself.’ In the climax she calls someone her ‘champion – my hero’ and it’s possible she’s singing to Charles, who doesn’t sing on the track.

The two songwriters now live in separate cities and in many ways they sound worlds apart. As on the last album, Watson tends to be responsible for the more abstract, insular moments on the records where Taylor uses her grandstanding voice to reach for the back seats. The album weaves back and forth between the pair’s songs, often creating interesting juxtapositions, often creating plain thematic confusion. But ultimately it does work, and that goes back to the duo’s enduring connection. On ‘Ancient Rolling Sea’, They sing harmoniously, ‘I’m by your side, I’ll always be by your side.’ As long as they stay that way they will continue to go on making moving albums. It can’t be long before more people start paying attention.

7.5/10

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