Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The Slow Readers Club – 91 Days in Isolation album review

Manchester’s hardest working band, The Slow Readers Club have released their second album of 2020: 91 Days in Isolation, released through their own SRC Records. These 91 days were filled with nothing but graft by The Readers as they worked tirelessly in the search of new and creative ways to interact with their incredibly loyal fan base during the challenging conditions of our on-going pandemic. Despite having just released their previous album The Joy Of The Return, Aaron, Kurtis, James, and David went straight back to it and began remotely writing their now 5th studio recorded album.

At the beginning of September our first glimpse of the album - Yet Again, was released. This new dark and powerful track came as a welcome surprise comparable to the likes of early Foals if not more musically mature. This was soon to be followed by the release of Two Minutes HateKurtis Starkie’s twangy guitar intro peculiarly reminds me of Teenage Riot by Sonic Youth. The ability the band have to so comfortably incorporate new ideas and styles while still keeping a tight hold of their classic sound is a skill most bands envy. We certainly can expect to see both these songs on their live set in the future.

Now to get into the meat of the album. The Greatest EscapeWanted Much More and Barricades are the songs that immediately stand out. These are the ‘big ones’ on the album – all mastering the beautiful Joy Division-esque feel that has worked so well for The Slow Readers Club over the past 11 years. Track number four on the album - Lost Summer has some of Aarons best vocal work to date. His beautifully written melodies are gracefully accompanied by Kurtis’ subtle and slow-moving guitar parts for this peaceful hypnotic track. Aaron’s Ian Curtis-like vocals are an element of the band’s sound that has always boded well for them. Everything I own is the hidden gem I was eagerly hoping to find on this album. James and David’s creative rhythm section work combined with the array of melancholy synths provide a Slowdive type feel. The reverb and delay effects are applied lavishly by Kurtis throughout this atmospheric piece. By far the most moving song on the album.

My expectations for 91 days in Isolation were somewhat limited. Having already committed their efforts to one great album this year it seemed unrealistic for them to have another in them but somehow, they did. Taking me back to my opening point, 91 Days in Isolation truly goes to show how much of a hard-working group The Slow Readers Club are. To write, record and produce two albums of a high standard in one year is incredible for a band of that their size. Now faced with the task of squeezing two new albums worth of strong material in among the well-known classics of their live set, the future looks as bright as ever for The Slow Readers Club.

- Patrick Barwick


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twitter: @TheBarwick

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