What can I say about Slowreader? I'm not too sure.
In case you didn't know, this band consists of Gabe and Rory, both formerly of the Impossibles [Rory also being in the original incarnation of the Stereo]. If one follows either of those two bands, you'd know that both men have a penchant for writing catchy, poppy rock with hooks aplenty. What set them apart from other bands, though, is their excellent lyricism - only Rory could write a song about bowling [the Stereo's "300"] and pull it off. Slowreader takes both men's incredible musical talent and hones it into this album.
In all honesty, though, this album consists of two songs - tracks 1 through 10, and track 11. Tracks 1 through 10 are very folksy, relying heavily on acoustic guitar. Think along the lines of Elliott Smith, but not nearly as Pro-Tooled [meaning it's just Rory and Gabe singing, not Rory and Gabe each singing 5 different harmonies for each song]. They also make use of electronics sparingly, and they can really make a track. "Sweetest Suffering" has a neat stuttered bass drum beat propelling the song through it's melancholy guitar and piano waltz.
The idea of quirkiness is not lost among these two men, however. Opening song "Politics, Music & Drugs" is completely made by the stomp-clap, stomp-stomp-clap drumbeat. Sure, they could've used a real drumset or a drum machine, but getting people to use their appendages naturally just sounds cooler.
For the most part, tracks 1 through 10 sound like an indie rock symphony with ten different movements. The songs all bleed into one another, and it works incredibly well.
Then there's track 11, "So This Is It." Gabe and Rory definitely turn on the rock button for this song. Electric guitars, psychedelic organs, pounding drums, and screaming distorted vocals set it apart from the other 10 songs on the album, and is a perfect ending to this aforementioned indie rock symphony. It is a complete departure from the rest of the album, but yet, it's distinctly Slowreader.
Not surprisingly, while Gabe's 8 songs are all solid, Rory once again steals the show with his three contributions [just like he did with the Stereo's first album]. "Sweetest Suffering," "Anesthetic For The Amputee," and "So This Is It" are all penned by him, and makes me pine for a solo album from him. He collaborates well with others, but I have a feeling that he could really acheive greatness on his own.
Irregardless, Slowreader is here, hot tub and all. How these songs [with their elaborate backing vocals and instrumentation] will carry over live is unknown, but as it stands this is a very solid and original indie rock album, one of the best this year.
Stream the entire album here
Every Part Of Nothing
Sweetest Suffering [demo]