||The Poetry Club
||All Tickets = £12.00
Slow Club is Sheffield boy-girl duo Charles Watson (guitar, vocals, piano) and Rebecca Taylor (drums, vocals, guitar). The band formed in 2005 when they were both still teenagers and spent the next two years touring relentlessly around the North of England. A support slot with US band Tilly And The Wall brought them to the attention of Moshi Moshi Records who released their debut album Yeah So in 2009.
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Initially categorized as “anti-folk” the album proved there was so much more to the band and their sound - sweet harmonious hooks, rockabilly beats and exuberant yelps and yips, all held together by some breath-taking harmonizing. Slow Club are defined by their own distinct and powerful partnership - Charles with bruised vocal, rasping guitar and disarming lightness of touch; Rebecca with her dash of Northern Soul and sharp wit, playing stand up drums.
In the autumn of 2010 the band returned to the studio to start work on their second album Paradise. Emerging with first single Two Cousins in July the following year the response from the media was, if anything, even more enthusiastic than for their debut. The NME simply described it as “a tour de force” and Q magazine said it was the “sound of a band starting to spread its wings”. To go with the bigger-sounding songs Charles and Rebecca added a bass player and drummer to their live set-up and once again hit the road, evolving over a year of touring into one of the most exciting bands playing live at the moment.
Now in 2014 we find Charles and Rebecca emerging from the studio again with what promises to be their career-defining album – Complete Surrender. Recorded with producer Colin Elliot, who previously helped create an equally widescreen sound on albums by Richard Hawley, Complete Surrender touches on everything from Motown and the output of Memphis' Stax Records to the immaculately produced pop of the 1970s, via Frankie Valli and David Bowie. The songs are certainly bigger and the pair have grown from a charmingly ramshackle teenage duo bursting with potential into a fully-formed, self-confident and impressively talented band. Where they take us next is anyone’s guess.
“The usual response from the bullied meek on discovering strength is to spew forth a torrent of bloody vengeance. One doesn’t normally throw a party. Yet here are Rebecca Taylor and Charles Watson of Slow Club, for too long derided as twee, throwing God’s own coming-out bash for the magnificent. The true sprit of the evening is declared on the skittish, galloping ‘If We’re Still Alive’: “I think that next summer if we’re all still alive we should try to jump into some water and focus on getting high!” Tonight, those sentiments are divorced from the melancholy of the lyrical setting and play out as exuberance – a folk-rock pool party in the middle of February. Slow Club never lacked charisma, occupying the exact point at which the phase ‘lovably ramshackle’ stopped being a back-handed compliment and instead a gang you’d like to join. But since last year’s ‘Paradise’ gave them new layers of muscle and complexity, that feted live experience has grown into something truly remarkable. It goes without saying that Rebecca Taylor is the single funniest person operating in indie right now: Jarvis in leggings with dialogue by the Booth and the mouth of a builder (an evil builder). But it’s also a testament to the skill of her delivery that none of the banter undercuts the drama in the music. So on ‘Beginners’ she’s Stevie Nicks on rollerskates, while ‘Never Look Back’ takes things down to a heartbreaking, delicate timbre. And just as your heart is breaking, your stomach ruptures with laughter, and so on and so on.
And then all of the riotous frolics fall away and the energy in the room switches to the kind of eerie where people hush gruffly at the slightest murmur. And yet in this case it isn’t annoying, because as the pair of them stand, hands by sides, chins tilted up like choir-kids, they tiptoe through an a cappella ‘Gold Mountain’ and yet another side is revealed. To silence a hoedown with the drop of a pin takes considerable power. We should underestimate what this pair pull off next at our peril.“ NME live review – Dan Martin – 23/2/12
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