Slow Club – Paradise

Compared to their 2009 debut Yeah So, everything is more dense, more layered. Slow Club have discovered the sweeping synth, gotten creative with their drum beats, become more anthemic in their melodies — and the result could not be more pleasing to the ears. There are parts of their Yeah So sound they’ve held on to, however; the gorgeous boy-girl harmonies are better than ever and songs like “Gold Mountain” and “Hackney Marsh” — a slow-paced, acoustic guitar ditty with an unexpected but somehow fitting saxophone solo in the middle — could have easily fitted in with the songs on their previous album.”Never Look Back” is like a transition song between the two albums’ sounds. While it’s got a healthy dose of reverb and a soaring build-up towards the end, it starts off simple and understated. It’s the ballad of the album, with exquisite, heartbreaking harmonies, blues-tinged guitar and the bass rocking gently in the background.”Two Cousins”, the opener and first single off Paradise, serves as a warning to old fans: it says, “Hey, we’re a little different than you remember. To quell any potential shock, we’ve made this track particularly awesome.” It is vastly different to the energetic poppy folk of old Slow Club, but —  with its group/multi-track vocals and bright, four-note synth riff walking down and up with a swagger —  it’s indie power-pop at its finest and undoubtedly one of the album’s strongest songs..”If We’re Still Alive”, ‘Beginners’ and second single “Where I’m Waking” all feature surf-rock guitar tones, reverb-soaked vocals and pounding drums that drive the song to that next level during its climax. Slow Club seem to have mastered the art of dynamics with Paradise.Closer “Horse Jumping/Paradise” is two-songs-in-one, the first part of which is a six-and-a-half minute slow burner that concludes with a piercing violin outro. However, it is the second part that excels and brings the album full circle. Revisiting the group vocal effect, featuring a driving jungle rhythm and exuding a child-like optimism (“I wanna live in paradise/I wanna see it like you do through your eyes”), the song climbs with each repeated verse, gaining momentum as more and more layers and lines are added.>No sophomore slump for you then, eh, Slow Club? Paradise is a mature yet adventurous second offering, less light-hearted and more intense than their debut, but nevertheless has the potential to be a perfect soundtrack for the coming sunny days.  by Stephanie Liew

September 19th 2011
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