The Slow Readers Club is a Mancunian band that came out of the ashes that was Omerta. Does this story sound familiar?
Joy Division comparisons aside after listeners take into account lead singer Aaron Starkie’s deadpan vocals over oddly bright band playing, the group’s electro indie sound on its second album Cavalcade does carry an infectious sense of brooding.
The singles showcase the band’s approach best. The bubbly yet reflective midtempo opener Start Again features wavy synths, rustling rhythm guitar and clunkily spaced, introspective lines like ‘consternation crippling you’ that simultaneously capture an exciting adrenaline rush and a deadening sense of regret. Starkie’s bare vocals ring clearly through with defiance and devotion on Forever in Your Debt, adding sugar to melodies that flow as effortlessly as a river. The slower Don’t Mind floats easily into the air with its soothing guitars, reassuring falsetto and recurring, shoegazing-worthy ‘you don’t mind’ hook.
Other tracks demonstrate the band’s potential. the all-too-brief Plant the Seed warmly mixes swirling synth patterns with operatic falsetto that provide rhythmic bliss to the lyrics, allowing the track to blossom like a flower. The title track may borrow The Temper Trap’s iconic Sweet Surrender‘s opening guitar riff, but nevertheless grabs listeners easily by the heartstrings. It’s captivating in its sincerity as the persona remarks that his own boy has ‘come of age’. Fool for Your Philosophy may be a bit too similar to the opener, but propels with glittery synths and strong drum kick beat that’s a hybrid of the Eurythmics, Duran Duran and A Flock of Seagulls. Grace of God is as heavenly as the title suggests.
The wintry yet admittedly ho-hum I Saw a Ghost (where the persona moans that he is ‘desolate, vacant, shallow…derelict’ over a depressed-sounding China Girl rewrite, whilst Days Like This Will Break Your Heart just chugs along. Here in the Hollow comes off as a bit monotonous. The gentle piano ballad Secrets attempts to be intimate but is too downtrodden. Know the Day Will Come fortunately wraps up the album nicely with an echoey, catchy chorus and religious allusions.
The Slow Readers Club’s new effort has good melodies and minimal filler, and reminds listeners that electro indie doesn’t have to be chirpy all the time.