Manchester’s The Slow Reader’s Club are back with their fourth effort ‘The Joy Of The Return’ and what a joy their return is. One of the area’s hottest bands saw their last album reach 20th in the UK album charts and that recognition has seen the band return with a darker, fine-tuned and more exploratory piece of rock music.
Their new record blends together indie-rock, dark wave, pop and post-punk and remind me of classic Editors records from the 2000’s. You get that interesting balance of gloomy vocals and driving bass and the ability to make everything sound so upbeat and pop-orientated.
The album’s bouncy opener ‘All I Hear’ features a great variety of vocal styles with frontman Aaron Starkie delivering a range that suits each moment of the track. The instrumentation is flavourful and one track in you’re already presented with the balance of atmospheric vocals combining with dancing drum patterns and sonic guitars.
Something Missing and Problem Child hook you in with the guitar picking and that sweet fast playing of drums and bass takes me back to a great time in indie rock music. The chorus in Something Missing has me unsurprisingly singing along and leaves me wanting more as it fades out. The vocals in Problem Child really give off that classic post-punk style. The darker aura of the track does perk my ears, but that catchy bass/guitar riff that plays throughout brings you right back up.
Jericho is the latest single release from the album which poppy verse transcends into a therapeutic chorus and I think that balance really centers on the instrumental creativity of the band – a large quality of their writing is how it will reflect for live performances and each track has its potential to draw in a keen indie audience.
No Surprise is a dramatic number and throws me back to the cool dark wave moments of the mid-2000’s and I think after such an upbeat start, this is a necessary alter in sound. The guitar tones in following track Paris are so entrancing, but once again the vocal range really compliments Starkie as he merges with the lower bass in the verse and entwines with the higher tone guitar playing in the chorus. If you like your Editors and Interpol, then these two tracks are worth checking out.
Killing Me has a euphoric verse/pre-chorus with the vocals swimming through the atmospheric instrumentation. The bass guitar thunders along in the background and makes the track sound fatter and darker. Idols is much more dramatic than the previous tracks with pounding drums and theatrical vocal delivery. The darker exploration in the second half of the album grabbed my attention a lot more than the bouncier opening!
Every Word has a bopping-indie style with post-punk undertones and Zero Hour and The Wait see a return to previous indie styles from earlier on the album. The return wraps everything up nicely with your indie-fied beginning and end, and a delicious post-punk mid-section which I found to be the most attractive part of the album.
A great catchy effort from one of Manchester’s most creative and exemplifies a variety in sounds and instrumentation that carry on the success of their previous record. Get your ears on this one.