After a clutch of increasingly impressive and fascinating singles across last year moving into this, anticipation of Cavalcade, the second album from UK indie rockers The Slow Readers Club was high and excited for a growing sea of fans, including us. Each of the quartet of songs offered was a riveting teaser and evidence of the band’s upcoming release and diversely sculpted sound respectively. Those propositions still shine like flaming beacons as they sit within the walls of Cavalcade but are matched by a collection of new to the ear tracks which simply seduce ears and imagination.
Hailing from Manchester, The Slow Readers Club have been no strangers to acclaim these past months. Their singles have drawn frequent praise and support from fans and media alike whilst their live presence has seen highly successful shows with the likes of Catfish & The Bottlemen, The Struts, Reverend and the Makers, and The Sunshine Underground as well as well-received appearances at Tramlines Festival, Party in the Pines, and the Blackthorn Festival. Journalist and frontman for Goldblade John Robb predicted that 2015 would see The Slow Readers Club breaking through to become one of the most important bands to emerge from Manchester’s music scene in recent years. Everything has backed up his suggestion and certainly Cavalcade has brought the year one of its major triumphs.
Creating an emotive and cinematically coloured mix of indie and electro pop, The Slow Readers Club has an embracing and immersive sound which places the listener into the scenery and heart of each song’s narrative as if physically there. Instant evidence comes with album opener Start Again. Its opening cauldron of electro temptation is an immediate potent lure, one only intensifying as a throaty bass line links with choppy guitar riffs and the equally magnetic vocals. It comes with an eighties electro pop breath, as most songs, yet creates a suggestive web of new and unique tempting which is best described as B-Movie meets Interpol but is solely The Slow Readers Club. The embracing keys of Aaron Starkie and the imaginative guitar enterprise of Kurtis Starkie weave an inescapable persuasion, their vocals similarly richly alluring though to be fair every aspect of the song is a lingering incitement, the almost dirty tones of James Ryan’s bass and the punchy beats of drummer David Whitworth equally irresistible, and when it is all united what emerges is a sublime piece of pop alchemy.
Impressive as it is though, the song is surpassed by the following I Saw a Ghost, surely the bands best song to date though it is seriously challenged by other tracks on the album. The band’s recent single, it opens with voice and beats casting a swift and dramatic proposal, one caressed by the warm evocative texture of keys. It is not long before the again wonderfully heavy voice of the bass is aligning itself to the lighter hues of guitar, each contrasting and enhancing the other and the evolving proposition. The entrance of the bass also seems to inspire a heftier energy to Whitworth’s swings, creating a captivating merger of light and dark tones and also as a physical persuasion. The track is sensational, once more seemingly bringing differing decades of pop into alignment for a seriously compelling and intoxicating slice of anthemic tempting.
Forever in Your Debt has a darker emotive air to its presence, from its first breath the bass casting a solemn yet inviting tone to the song and continued by the impressive vocal expression and qualities bringing the song’s premise into ears and thoughts. Bubbly guitar and atmospheric keys add to the brewing drama, every twist revealing new shadows and corners to eagerly explore whilst sound wise there is a post punk like essence tempering the potent heat of melodies and hooks.
Three songs in and variety is as open as the connecting prowess of the band’s imagination, the mesmeric Plant the Seed giving further swift proof. Like a blend of Depeche Mode and Bronski Beat, the song is a transfixing croon of dark electro and synth pop, entrancing ears before leading them into an almost visual passage of intimate reflection and radiant persuasion. A track which impresses from the first play and only grows more potent, it is emulated by the melodically and emotionally climatic Days Like This Will Break Your Heart. It is a brooding inventive roar of an encounter which is almost volcanic in its intensity and sonic landscape. Both tracks continue the immense flight of the album perfectly but are put in the shade a touch by the outstanding Don’t Mind. It is one of those serenades which linger with unrelenting persistence, a lively and evocative caress which just connects with situations we have all been through whilst providing an absorbing soundtrack. With a touch of Black/ Colin Vearncombe to its croon, the song is seductive balladry at its most sublime.
The album’s title track is next and needs little time to bewitch as spicy guitar endeavour fuels a feel of The Smiths at its beginning. It’s reserved but potent start soon builds into a thicker and more dramatically hued theatre of emotion and sound where spices of The The and The Associates flirt with the band’s ideation. The track adds to the growing list of the major moments on the album, and there are so many, before making way for Fool for Your Philosophy to reveal its tangy electro enterprise and dark drama. The almost sinister rhythms of Ryan and Whitworth are worth the price of ‘the ticket’ alone, as too the exceptional vocals whilst the vibrant and energetic dance of keys and melodies are a fire in the enthralling darkness of the song.
Both Grace of God and Here in the Hollow hold body and emotions tight, the first a beautiful intensive flirtation with a Frankie Goes To Hollywood charm and vivacity to it whilst its successor, from an enticing simmering start, grows into one glorious anthem of sound and emotion where vocals again are the mighty instigators to the irresistible theatre of the song sculpted by colossal sounds. We mentioned some songs rival I Saw a Ghost for the pinnacle of the band’s songs to date and this is a definite contender.
The enthralling and emotively fuelled Secrets provides an excellent pungent drama next before things are brought to a close by Know the Day Will Come a song which makes a slow and decent enough start but erupts into another creatively incendiary exploration for ears and emotions. It is a thumping end to a quite exceptional album.
Expectations were high because of the band’s previous singles but The Slow Readers Club has surpassed them and themselves with Cavalcade. The bare fact is that it will be astonishing if you find a better rock pop album in 2015 then this modern classic.
Cavalcade is available now, digitally @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/cavalcade/id979245862 and on CD/vinyl via http://theslowreadersclub.bandcamp.com/merch
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