You know what they say about modern hits – ‘they don’t write them like they used to’… Err, actually, Slow Club have just about managed a full records worth of modern golden oldies so this time they would be wrong.
Complete Surrender is the Sheffield duo’s third record and a follow up to 2011’s Paradise.
‘The Pieces’ is the latest single to come from the record and is out-and-out the stand out track of the whole album. It takes takes the rhythm sections and vocal styles of the good old days, and the introduction of MGMT styled synth tones give the track a modern edge. In fact all of the good in this song is mirrored throughout the records best work – upbeat jams, subtle synth tones and beautifully delivered, effortless vocals.
Other classics include ‘Slow Surrender’ – the albums title track – genteel slow builder ‘Everything Is New’, and previous single ‘Suffering You, Suffering Me’ – a genuine Franki Valli-esque throwback of the highest calibre and all potential dance floor classics.
Clearly the duo have an excellent friendship both in and out of office hours and this is possibly the greatest key to enjoying the record. The pair rotate instrument and vocal duties, and seem to do all they can to simultaneously encourage and compete with each other to produce standout moments.
The vocals are both Taylor’s and Watson’s main weapon in their arsenal, and hearing the pair sing to each other sincerely and with tenderness is a beautiful thing to be forged on record. The least you can expect from any singer is to make the audience believe in the delivery and with this record you get the benefit of two genuine articles.
Perhaps the unfortunate downside to the album is the focus on sentimentality over a damned good boogie. It’s the upbeat tunes with good rhythms that make the album better than average and to skimp on them is really a sin. While the pair are undoubtedly filled with talent the album never really gets going. For every high school jive-off there are two awkward slow dances, and for every couple courting there are three single poindexters sitting by the side of the dance hall – lonely and miserable. This results in a couple of the tracks meandering on or being skipped in favour of something more juicy.
Ultimately though Complete Surrender is a classy combination of heart-string tugging tunes, beautiful melodies, hot harmonies and gorgeous craftsmanship. Slow Club take large chunks of influence from the industry’s golden era and give them new leases of life by adding modern instrumentation and techniques. There’s nothing ovally clichéd about the music and every step of the journey is honest and sincere, and something for the pair to smirk about.
Words: Loic Tuckey