ALBUM REVIEW: The Slow Readers Club – The Joy Of The Return

9/10

The Slow Readers Club

Manchester’s The Slow Readers Club are back with a fourth album, The Joy Of The Return, out on March 20th via Modern Sky UK. It’s recorded at Parr Street Studios in Liverpool and produced by long-standing collaborator Phil Bulleyment The band have also shared their singles, All I Hear, Jericho and Killing Me singles from the album. Last year saw them play a 32-date European tour and a number of sold-out UK shows after the release of their third album Build A Tower. They are ever-growing in popularity and have released details of an extensive UK & EU tour starting this month kicking off in their hometown.

All I Hear kicks off the album with punchy drums and guitar. Vocalist Aaron Starkie’s voice is evocative and has a touch of Jimmy Somerville about it on his higher notes. “And the money that you make is making you a slave”. It contains the Readers hallmark emotive lyrics and thumping beat and is a great first track to showcase their talents.

Their trademark haunting lyrics abound in The Problem Child: “Arrows flying/Kids have no respect/Loved by no-one.” It’s a tragic tale of a misspent youth. “For you the odds were stacked, the pain of life did overflow” which really pack an emotional clout. And yet that doesn’t stop the Readers from being eminently danceable. That’s what appeals about them, their expressive, cathartic lyrics combined with electro-indie pop beats. By contrast, Jericho is an optimistic song about being on the cusp of a teenage romance. It’s positive and I can hear this being played a lot this summer.

No Surprise has to be my standout track with a slightly reggae-sounding introduction, a power-driven rhythm and lyrics to boot. “I scaled the highest peak, the scene defies belief, looked out on all the horrors of humanity…. all man conspired to cultivate a tragedy.” This is melancholic but has the power to lift you up out of the everyday and take you to another dreamlike state. Bring on the alpha waves!

Paris is languid and dreamy with a hypnotic refrain “Take me back, take me back to Paris, to the breaking of the dawn”. Zero Hour is determined with a synthesised angelic crescendo that builds and builds before an abrupt end. The Wait brings the album to a jubilant climax.

There’s not one dud track on this album. The Slow Readers Club are enduring and continue to create ever greater depths and layers to their music to contagious effect.  Musical storytellers for our generation.

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