Slowly Slowly - 'Race Car Blues' Album Review
1. Creature Of Habit
3. Safety Switch (ft. Bec Stevens)
4. You Are Bigger Than This Town
5. Michael Angelo
7. Suicidal Evangelist
9. How It Feels
11. Creature Of Habit Pt. 2
12. Race Car Blues
As anybody who writes about music will tell you, it’s always best to write about what you know, and preferably about what you like. There’s no point in giving a K Pop record to somebody who hates anything that’s not Death Metal, and asking for an in-depth review, although I do now have an idea for a feature that I must remember to pitch to our Editor. As somebody who listens to music, and forms sentences from words which are inspired by said music, which hopefully come together to represent some sort of opinion, I try to be as open minded as I can when I’m being asked what sort of music I fancy reviewing next. If I narrow my field too much, then the chances are that I will get less and less music to listen to, less sentences formed and so on…
All of this is a massively roundabout way of saying that if I was asked what sort of music I liked, like really liked, I probably wouldn’t say Pop Punk. If I had to say why, I’d probably make up some shit about it being nothing like Punk, but that holds no water, because I like Indie Punk and that’s nothing like Punk. Maybe there’s a bit of ageism in there, and I see it as being for younger folk than I, but that doesn’t hold water, because I like loads of music that’s not aimed at whatever demographic I fall into. Maybe it’s something that will eventually get psychoanalysed out of me and will all be traced back to an unfortunate incident in my childhood. I don’t know, but the fact is that I’m prejudiced- there, I said it, I’m a musical bigot; I just don’t like Pop Punk.
And then came Slowly Slowly’s latest record, ‘Race Car Blues’ and like Edward Norton in ‘American History X’, I realise that I was wrong and that it’s time to change my ways. There’s no sudden epiphany, no flash of light, but even within seconds and in the opening track, ‘Creature Of Habit’ I’m struck by the craft on display in Ben Stewart’s lyrics- skilfully balancing the humour which typifies the genre with moments of genuine emotion. This careful balance of anguish and humour is a theme throughout the record, and the tone is just right. ‘Suicidal Evangelist’ lays Stewart’s vulnerabilities bare for all to see; the emotional delivery being just the right side of over the top. You know that thing that some Pop Punk acts do with their ballads, when the singer’s voice quavers so much that they sound like a sheep? Yeah, well he does that. It’s forgivable though, and by the time I’ve fallen for Slowly Slowly, I don’t hear it anymore; perhaps love is deaf as well as blind?
‘Jellyfish’ is the track that’s gained the most plaudits to date and it’s Stewart’s lyrics which are the star of the show, in this my new favourite love song. The lyric muses on how all-consuming love is, and how nothing much else matters when you’re in it. With the fusion of humour and powerful emotion, it’s as if ‘Jellyfish’ is an abstract for the entire album. Special mentions need also to go to ‘Superpowers’ and ‘Safety Switch‘, the latter including guest vocalist, Indie starlet Bec Stevens, and the former being a beautiful reflection on just how tough a job it is to make it through life with integrity.
Slowly Slowly may be on their third album already but if there’s any justice, then this will be the one that propels them beyond their native Australia and into your ears.
Disclaimer: Please do not put actual musicians into your ears, that could be dangerous.
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Review - Jon Stokes