10 Albums in 10 Days: Day 10
RACE CAR BLUES, SLOWLY SLOWLY, 2020
There really isn’t anything else I could have finished off this compilation of albums with. I don’t remember the last time I felt as much anticipation for an album as I did with Race Car Blues. It’s hard to believe that I started off 2020 feeling giddily excited for a new album with everything that is happening in the world now, but for this reason, RCB’s release timing is inadvertently perfect.
I anticipated RCB so much that I found myself uttering forbidden statements such as “the album of the year” a) in February b) before it was even released, this is how excited I was. Prior to the release date, we had heard the super approachable to the point of being almost poppy Jellyfish, emotional table tennis duet with Bec Stevens Safety Switch, fast-paced attack Creature of Habit part 2 and even a song that went on to be cut from the album, Low, which was an ode to Slowly Slowly’s past sound, I didn’t know where exactly RCB was going to go, but I was excited to find out.
Frontman Ben Stewart described RCB as growing up and looking ahead, which as studio album number three for the Melbourne emo-rockers is a great start to its metaphorical journey.
To me, this is that “next step up” album for Slowly Slowly, that sets them apart from their peers. It is mature and poetic but remains true to earlier outfits from St Leonards and Chamomile like Alchemy, Ten Leaf Clover and Hey You, allowing fans to go on the journey of growing up with the band.
I absolutely love the two sides to a different track, almost like the old A side and B side of a vinyl with Creature of Habit parts 1 and 2, with part 1 being slower and mellower, setting up the scene for the crashing symbols and roaring beats of part 2, it’s more proof of how seriously Stewart takes his craft, considering all angles of his musical pieces.
The album weaves between moshpit ready foot stampers like Soil and You Are Bigger Than This Town to the slowed down but keyed up Suicidal Evangelist and How It Feels before bringing the entire album together with the closing title track, Race Car Blues, which is nothing short of sheer brilliance. It represents so much all within one song; fear, growth, acceptance and finally making sense of the direction life is taking you. In one album, Slowly Slowly have managed not only being the most commercially friendly they’ve ever been, but also the most experimental and mature they’ve ever been, which is not always an easy feat, but they have absolutely nailed it.