Slow Club – One Day All Of This Won’t Matter Any More
Spacebomb is proud to have recorded the new album from Slow Club, One Day All Of This Won’t Matter Any More, out now on Moshi Moshi Records. Produced by Matthew E. White, the record features Spacebomb house band members Pinson Chanselle (Drums/Perc/Timpani), Cameron Ralston (Bass), Alan Parker (Guitar/Lapsteel), Daniel Clarke (Rhodes/Clav/Wurlitzer/Mellotron/Synths), as well as Resound on backing vocals.
How do you keep a band interesting after ten years? It’s a question Slow Club’s Charles Watson and Rebecca Taylor must have asked themselves as they started work on their fourth album. From the cute indie-folk of their 2009 debut Yeah So, to the wonky-pop of its follow up Paradise, two years later, to the sophisticated, polished soul of 2014’s Complete Surrender, this is a band that have never stood still, going out of their way to present a new version of themselves on every release, while maintaining the spirit, the warmth and the chemistry that has marked their music since they formed in 2006.
Yet Slow Club 2016 are a very different proposition to the indie duo of a decade ago, who carried makeshift percussion rigs around their native Sheffield in parents’ cars, sang everything in close harmony and wrote from a shared perspective. The pair live in different parts of the country now, and work in very different ways. Charles is in London. Rebecca lives in Margate, throwing herself into the artistic community there. Charles writes obliquely, using short stories and found narratives to transmit his ideas, while Rebecca’s lyrics are starker and more personal, channelling her heartbreak and happiness in a very direct way. How do you bring two distinct styles, two distinct lives, back together and make them feel like the same band?
The answer seems to be producer Matthew E. White, the master of Southern-gothic folk, whose in-house band at Richmond’s Spacebomb provided the consistency and tone the album required. On previous records the duo would play most of the instruments themselves, aided by occasional friends. Here they handed their songs to Spacebomb’s core unit: guitarist Alan Parker, drummer Pinson Chanselle, bassist Cameron Ralston and keyboard player Daniel Clarke, encouraging them to develop their parts and help arrange the music. Almost every track was played live in the studio, allowing the long-established session band’s natural chemistry to augment Charles and Rebecca’s, with the double advantage of recording being very effective, and also comparatively quick.
“It desperately needed that.” says Rebecca, “We weren’t as on the same page about what we wanted this time, we were sort-of blindly going into it. We needed someone to come in and take control. Going in there with those guys leant itself to that. It was perfect.”
Wistfulness and acceptance are very much themes here. On ‘Come On Poet’, a clear highlight, Rebecca, giving one of her best-ever vocal performances, sings about “a chronic impatience, sufferer waiting for time to heal… Babies taking their lead from elders who still don’t know anything,” while Charles’s Silver Morning is about “a guy who won once and lost it all”.
If all of this seems a little introspective, at their heart Slow Club are still a pop band and One Day… contains some of the best melodies they’ve yet created. The duo’s knack for writing hooks and melody has, if anything, become stronger. There are choruses here you instantly feel you’ve known your whole life, like the timeless, reassuring refrain of “I’ll always be by your side” in ‘Ancient Rolling Sea’, or the Dolly Parton via-Linda Ronstadt anthem of self-celebration through the darkest times that is ‘Champion’. Perhaps best of all are a pair of songs to be found at the top of what traditionalists would call “side 2”- ‘Rebecca Casanova’, a slice of widescreen, four-to-the-floor pop that recalls soft-rock giants Fleetwood Mac in the way it channels heartbreak onto the dancefloor, and ‘Tattoo Of The King’, a Charles Watson tale that takes Neil Young and the Doobie Brothers to the disco. Neither sound like anything Slow Club have done before, while still somehow sounding like Slow Club always have. And if that seems like a contradiction, like two ideas saying something different but working together, well that’s Slow Club 2016 through and through.
Slow Club’s One Day All Of This Won’t Matter Any More, a Spacebomb Production, is out now via Moshi Moshi Records