Band of the Day

2011.11.01

Slow Club

Innocent and endearing English folk pop
You could wrap a million candles into a torch and hope that it steers you home.
lyrics from Because We're Dead

Slow Club is a folk-rock duo from Sheffield, England that was formed in 2006 after the break-up of their former band The Lonely Hearts. The group consists of Charles Watson (vocals, guitar) and multi-instrumentalist Rebecca Taylor (vocals, guitar, percussion). Their songs feature simple, well-crafted melodies, sung in lush harmony built on the sounds of a naked acoustic guitar. The percussion often features found objects like chairs and bottles. Early recording efforts include two 7" singles in 2007, Slow Club and Me and You, on London-based label Moshi Moshi Records. Moshi Moshi released their debut album Yeah So in 2009, followed by an American release in early 2010. Their second album, Paradise, was released on Moshi Moshi Records in September 2011.

There comes a point in your life when, if you haven't found a significant other, you start to plan out other options. For Rebecca Taylor and Charles Watson, otherwise known as Slow Club, that point comes at the tender age of twenty-two—at least in their song “When I Go.” The opening track to their debut album Yeah So asks: “If we're both not married by twenty-two, could I be so bold and ask you?” It's a sweet, acoustic ditty that combines gentle guitar plucking and whistling over their combined vocals. The indie folk duo, from Sheffield, England, manage to sing harmoniously without one voice taking precedence over the other. As the song goes through the aging process (“If I get to sixty, will you let me slip away into an armchair for the rest of my days?”), the singing gradually becomes more robust, before slipping away gently. While many of the songs on their first album are sweetly simple and acoustic, their latest album Paradise takes a different approach. Opening track “Two Cousins” has Taylor on lead vocals, singing heart-wrenching lyrics like, “I look into your eyes, you don't know who I am” over light synths. “Never Look Back” starts out completely stripped down, with just a light electric guitar over Taylor and Watson's gorgeous harmonies. It's got an air of hollowness to it, as if they're playing soundcheck at a completely empty club. Gradually it swells up into to a larger sound, with added instrumentation and more yearning to the vocals, the type of build-up that's worth holding out for. Named after a club that appears in David Lynch's bizarre cult classic, Blue Velvet, Slow Club don't shy away from the unusual. They often combine objects such as glass bottles and chairs to use as percussion instruments in their live shows, and Taylor plays the drums standing up. Their music also combines elements of 60s pop and folk—with inspiration ranging from Neil Young, to Fleetwood Mac, to The Beach Boys—which gives a feel that's both heartwarming and genuine. Formed after their previous band The Lonely Hearts split up, Slow Club keeps their music simple, letting their male/female vocal dynamics shine. “The grass is green, the sky is blue, oh the sun bullies the moon. But I will make you see that you belong to me,” they sing in “Thinking, Drinking, Sinking, Feeling”, from Let's Fall Back In Love. Is it raw and passionate? No, but there's a time and place for music to ooze raw, sexual sounds. With Slow Club, their music is a reminder that sometimes it's better to embrace the sweetest, most innocent parts of old-fashioned love.