SLOW CLUB – Complete Surrender

Album: Complete Surrender

Artist: Slow Club

Label: Wichita Recordings

Release Date: July 15, 2014


Slow Club 7-15


This is the sound of simple, not-very-memorable folk songs blown up to the breaking point. Slow Club, which built its brand around fetching two-person ditties, has aimed for Spector-hood in this third full-length, loading unconvincing brass choirs, string orchestras and chiming bells to songs like “Suffering You, Suffering Me.” These blowsy big production numbers flounder under their own weight and sink, suffocating Rebecca Taylor’s girlish attempts at diva-hood.

Let’s point an accusing finger at producer Colin Elliot for building up lush Motown arrangements behind the pair, Taylor and Charles Watson, the kinds of bluesy, brassy crescendos and saccharine string swells that beg for vocal grit as counterpoint. Taylor just doesn’t have it. She’s a well-scrubbed Disney princess fronting Aretha Franklin’s orchestra on “The Queen’s Nose.” It’s painful, embarrassing and awful. On the title track, she attempts Donna Summer, floating eerie trills over a synth-y dance beat, but that doesn’t work either. She has neither the desperate hedonism or the underlying pathos that turns disco into art.

Even stripping off the gloss doesn’t help, because there’s not much under it. Watson’s piano ballad, “Number One” and his strummy acoustic “Paraguay and Panama” are less irritating, but also less than striking. They’re a relief because they don’t hurt. They just sort of disappear.

I look at Metacritic and see mostly positive, occasionally rapturous reviews for this piece of overripe garbage – and it makes me wonder what’s happened to people. Are we so empty inside that we crave this kind of nullity? I hope not.



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