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Music Review: Slow Club – Yeah So

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As you listen to Sheffield, England duo Slow Club, do you get that funny feeling that they're playing their hearts out in a vast empty room? Or that they don't take the hint that nobody thinks they're good, but they keep playing anyway?

Well, the truth is they are good, and they play with the kind of confidence that enables them to continually grow and learn with every musical outing. Not only that, they always sound like they're having fun. And their debut album Yeah So is no exception.

Rebecca Taylor (percussion) and Charles Watson (guitar) are Slow Club, and they share vocal duties to form a rather distinct sound. They alternate the lead and often harmonize with slight contrast (although never competing), and the result is a tone and melody that completely resonate long after the song ends. The opening "When I Go" about everlasting love perfectly captures such sentiment with its simplicity and youthful dreaming (especially with lyrics like "I hope that there’s some childish spark still alive").

Slow Club (photo by Andy Willsher)I think it's because they elicit such a wonderful energy, somewhat reminiscent of Johnny Cash and June Carter. Yes, I said it. Listen to the folksy "Trophy Room" and there are hints of similar chemistry and passion, or to the rockabilly throwback "It Doesn't Have To Be Beautiful" with its infectious exuberance.

There's a very somber, more reflective tone in the album's latter half, marked by two solo ballads — Charles' minimalist "Dance 'Til The Morning Light" and Rebecca's pitch-perfect folk tune "Sorry About The Doom". No, the doom doesn't last too long, as the whimsical "Apples And Pairs" serves as a lighthearted reprieve toward the album's end.

Yeah So includes a bonus disc of B-sides (four) and live recordings of a holiday (2009) performance at London's Union Chapel (five). Not surprisingly, the B-sides add more to the Slow Club aura. "Let's Fall Back In Love" is a group sign-along, while "Me & You" shows a more quirky side to the pair.

Through incessant touring, Slow Club has developed the maturity to make pleasant music on the general awkwardness of life, to which Yeah So delivers a meaningful dose of reality.

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