Album Review: Slow Club – ‘Paradise’

Sheffield Two-Piece In A Reflective Mood

From the off, it’s clear that [a]Slow Club[/a] have changed. Opener ‘Two Cousins’ sees the snot-folk Sheffield two-piece in reflective mode and ditching the guitars and drums combo for something more subtle. There’s no more yelling and yelping. ‘Paradise’ is more reserved, with fewer in-jokes; it’s less smart-alec and less disposable. Even the title is in contrast to the snarky, argumentative name of their debut, ‘Yeah So’.

Thematically, too, ‘Paradise’ is all grown up. Though it covers the same stomping ground of love and lust, the band now factor in loss and regret. The lovely ‘Horses Jumping’ sees Charles take lead vocals, treading softly on [a]Elliott Smith[/a]’s turf. He poignantly and deftly reflects on a past relationship, noting that “good love is hard to forget/When you know it was real”, before moving to the killer crux that “Now we talk ’cos it’s new again/And that’s worth waiting for”. ‘Hackney Marsh’ has a different perspective, with Rebecca crooning that “Currency can ruin friendships/A mattress will do it too” as she pledges to move : she “won’t be a sports car in three feet of grass”. A gentle saxophone solo lifts her up, up and away “on a raft of brand-new beginnings”.

The only throwback to their former sound is ‘Gold Mountain, with its two voices and one guitar. But the sentiment is considered and humble. It’s a dedication to ends – and beginnings – as they both whoop, “I have found that when the life comes pouring out/You are the only one that counts”. Secret track ‘Paradise’ saves the best for last. Jubilant and forceful, hints of feedback screech beneath Rebecca harmonising with herself as Charles wails on electric guitar. It’s the sound of a band knowing exactly who they are, what they want – and how to get it.

Ailbhe Malone