Slow Club share new material and album classics with their Poole audience
Bearing your soul to a crowd of strangers can be a tough thing to do. However, Sheffield duo Slow Club tackle that with humility, apathy and mockery; all while putting on a hard-hitting, no distractions, intimate show and making it seem easy.
Currently touring the country in support of their upcoming album (due later this year in August), the band are also joined by Irish folk-master Seamus Fogarty. Taking to the stage as just a man and his guitar, while riddling through songs of long lost t-shirts and questionable museums; Fogarty manages to capture the best of genre-mate Josh Rouse and with his personality, make it his own. Meanwhile, Slow Club’s front woman Rebecca Taylor and head boy Charles Watson, take the opportunity to do away with old staples of their setlist and showcase what almost seems the entirety of their upcoming catalogue. While their sound is ever-evolving with each new track, the same can be said for their live show; when the no-show of other bandmates led to an intimate and impromptu stripped back gig. Working in their favour, however; showcasing vocals, personality and Watson‘s comfort with the unexpected use of a drum machine.
Kicking off the set with ‘Come On, Poet’, the band instantly distinguish themselves with a new sound to previous record, 2014’s ‘Complete Surrender’. Featuring a deeper, bass heavy feeling; mildly reminiscent of new-wave Californian rock. A style they first premiered in latest single ‘Ancient Rolling Sea’, which seems immediately integral with the forthcoming album’s production.
Following up with ‘Rebecca Casanova’, a solo from the Casanova herself. Throughout the set, much like the previous albums, there are scattered solo songs where the other member leaves the stage. An unusual structure, though addressed by Watson to ensure that they “don’t really hate one another”, it gives each of the two artists their time to shine. With Taylor later on bringing ‘Not Mine To Love’ to life on guitar, accompanied with strong, powerful and impressively controlled vocals. Watson also brings in a rendition of his solo ‘Paraguay and Panama’, oozing with personality and shining light on the slickly penned lyrics.
Mixing both new tracks and older ones – only from ‘Complete Surrender’ – the duo manages to almost rewrite their previous work and merge them together sonically. With the originally soulful and paced ‘Tears of Joy’, Watson and Taylor bring the tempo down and strip out the percussion entirely; streamlining focus towards lyrics and vocals. A theme that seems likely to come into play on their upcoming album, being less about busy production and instead pushing a more relaxed vibe. However, the remains of their prior sound come closest on new track ‘Always Like This’. Proving a solid reminder that two voices rarely compliment one another as well as those of the duo.
After running the last leg of the set with entirely new tracks, the band return to stage to close with two discography highlights. Heartbreaking ‘Complete Surrender’ album cut ‘Wanderer, Wandering’, and 2011 single ‘Two Cousins’. ‘Wanderer, Wandering’ is a studio and live highlight for the band, with both voices emotionally powering through the words together, partnered with a simple, yet equally pounding beat. Taylor takes the last minute of the song to rest her head on the mic-stand, and watch bandmate Watson with eager admiration. Closing with ‘Two Cousins’ being the oldest track performed during the evening, again with a cut tempo and sultry delivery. On their latest tour, it’s clear that the band are somewhat eager to depart from their original sound. Though their latest material showcases that this shouldn’t be anything to worry about. And with the transition from ‘Yeah, So’ to ‘Paradise’ to ‘Complete Surrender’ as is, a shift in sound is not too surprising either.
And while together they’re both pushing new sounds across each of their releases, you can’t help but entertain the idea that they shouldn’t ever be flying under the radar. Continuously leaping up the album charts with each release – while remaining a consistent favourite of critics – it’s clear that whatever sounds Slow Club are ever tapping into, they treat and explore with extreme finesse.
Slow Club‘s new album available August 19th via Moshi Moshi Records.