I’m guessing most of my readers look forward to February 15th nearly as much as they look forward to December 26th… However, this year Philthy has an even better reason to celebrate that particular date… Sheffield duo Slow Club will be appearing at Johnny Brenda’s for what I’m anticipating to be one of the season’s best evenings of music.
Slow Club are Charlie Watson and Rebecca Taylor. They met as teens when they were members of indie rock outfit The Lonely Hearts. That fell apart but, in its ashes, Slow Club was formed in 2006. By mid-2009, they dropped their debut LP, the brilliant Yeah So. The album blends indie pop quirk with a folk aesthetic and tackles some of life’s most existentially dreary moments with admirable and unaffected pep (quite a good “post-Valentine’s” sound). At times it’s reminiscent of Tegan and Sara’s less electronic days, and at times it’s more along the lines of Butch Walker with quite a few added pounds of grit but, most frequently, it embodies that subtly indescribable sound that happens when the Brits appropriate the traditional sounds of the American South and Middle West… which, for some reason, so often tends to have exceptionally lovely results.
Last year the duo released their sophomore effort, Paradise. Although the release is still centered more on loss than any other human condition, and it continues to balance the somber with a brand of cheer, it displays maturation in the band’s sound. The lyricism is more dynamic and to-the-heart-of-the-matter and slightly less sing-along-able, while their musicianship is more soulful and slightly less youthfully frantic (Although they are still each quite young.) I recently chatted with Charlie about their latest work, their expectations for 2012, and the current state of Slow Club. Check out what he had to say and make sure to catch the band’s February 15th performance at Johnny Brenda’s.
IC: The two of you have been writing and playing together for a long time now, including your time in The Lonely Hearts, long before Slow Club. What is it that makes you such compatible musical partners and how would you describe the specific dynamic of your work?
CW: We are two very different people, so I’d imagine that plays a part in why it seems to work. Our working environment often changes from song to song.
IC: Your latest release, Paradise, displays a significant maturation in sound from your debut, Yeah So. How do you feel as though your earlier work fits with your current output? (I’m still quite a fan of the first record and am hoping you don’t crowd it out of your set too much.)
CW: We are very proud of the first record. We will always play certain songs from it but, for now, we want to concentrate on new songs rather than songs written in the past.
IC: I must admit that I’m less willing to attempt to characterize your sound as being indebted to or being a part of any particular genre than I have been for any other musical act in a while. For having such a cohesive sound, your aesthetic can vary greatly. How would the two of you attempt to characterize your music and do you feel like there are any other artists doing similar things?
CW: I’m not a huge fan of putting our music under a title or label. I guess it’s up to the people that come to the shows and buy our records to decide.
IC: I hear that you’re fans of Destiny’s Child… I can’t really picture that. Do you have any other influences or interests that your fans might not expect… musical or otherwise?
CW: Rebecca likes to act. I like to draw. But I’m not sure how much those influence our music.
IC: What is Slow Club most excited about in 2012? You’re playing SXSW, which you’ve played before. Does that make the list?
CW: Travelling to cities we have never been to with two new members! SXSW should be fun. Slow Club like frozen margaritas.