Album Review: Slow Club – Complete Surrender2 min read
Indie-pop two-piece Slow Club’s third full-length album, Complete Surrender, seems to hit every beat necessary in becoming a great (if not necessarily classic) album. Right from the casual trip-hop drum pattern that begins the striking opening number Tears of Joy, it’s clear that this album is ready and willing to provide a largely soothing album that will no doubt become melancholy and introspective in its quieter moments (but not enough to become extremely distressing). Second track Everything Is New certainly adheres to that latter requirement, though it still manages to fit in a loud, emotional chorus to counter its generally low-key atmosphere. Rather than attempt to balance generally loud songs with generally quiet songs, Slow Club tends to give most of the songs here a structure that emphasises quiet beginnings and loud finishes. Suffering You, Suffering Me proves this by using a distinctive combination of brass and strings to back much of the song to great effect.
The album’s tendency towards bold, brassy numbers is tempered somewhat by songs that stay quiet all the way through. Aside from both playing multiple instruments, main members Charles Watson and Rebecca Taylor also share the vocal duties, though it’s Taylor’s vocals that stand out the best. Watson manages to hold his own just fine, but even the band seems to admit that the songs where he takes the lead still need Taylor’s presence in order to sound really impressive. Number One is a piano-driven number featuring Watson on lead vocals and piano. While there is some impressive layering of Taylor’s vocals in the background, this is definitely Watson’s standout moment on the album. Paraguay and Panama is very much the same but with acoustic guitar in place of piano.
As it stands, Complete Surrender isn’t a game-changer but it’s still a very solid indie pop release. Several tracks here utilise multiple instruments and jaunty melodies to strong effect – chief among them are The Queen’s Nose, The Pieces and the title track. Despite the upbeat tracks’ quality, the tracks with sparse production and slightly sadder tunes are still strong enough to work on their own and not as filler. Taylor’s vocals may be a key part of the band’s strength, but Watson’s performance is still decent regardless. Complete Surrender is definitely worth listening to if you’re after some smooth pop music – even if you’re not, this might just end up being essential listening by the time 2014 comes to an end.