Manchester based electro-rock ensemble The Slow Reader’s Club have received quite a bit of recognition since their debut album dropped in May of 2012. Being showcased by the BBC on both Radio 6 and the corporation’s Introducing shows, the foursome have also had their music featured by XFM, NME TV, Q Radio, Sky Sports and ITV. Add to that some sold out gigs in their hometown and stage time at the Tramlines and Blackthorn festivals, as well as at Party in the Pines. and you get a pretty impressive resume.
The band are heading back out on the road next month to promote their new album, Cavalcade, which is due for release on April 13th. Taking off with “Start Again”, a mellow electronic beat and cool, melodic vocals that build into a lively chorus that maintains a serious tone. The sobering sound it establishes lingers across the catchy melody and enthralling rhythm of “I Saw a Ghost”. This infectious and accessible number remains fast and thoughtful for its duration.
A subtle but stirring riff continuously builds behind the piercing vocals of the smoothly executed “Forever in Your Debt”. It’s followed by buoyant synths that guide “Plant the Seed” towards a remarkably high-pitched harmony. In its wake, “Days Like This Will Break Your Heart” is initially more reserved, but grows into a bustling composition with a resonant harmony that cuts across sombre instrumentation.
“Don’t Mind” features comparatively light guitars and percussion alongside warm and relaxed vocals that exhibit a wide range. This is succeeded by the downbeat and lamentable atmosphere of “Cavalcade”, which begins a string of tracks that are by themselves well constructed, but together sound a little too similar. “Food for Your Philosophy” is another solemn piece that develops a quick momentum ahead of the ominous synths and pounding percussion of “Grace of God” and the reflective but equally acute “Here in the Hollow”.
While “Secrets” doesn’t shift out of the dire tone prevalent in its predecessors, it does manage to differentiate itself by utilising pensive piano keys. This, along with a rather haunting harmony, is refreshing to hear. Once it finishes though, “Knowing the Day Will Come” falls back towards familiar territory, employing a mixture of bracing synths and riffs to close things out in a characteristically urgent manner.
Individually, there’s not a whole lot wrong with any of the offerings on Cavalcade. They’re brought to life via accomplished instrumentation and supberb vocal work. Any one of these creations makes for an enjoyable listen. The problem is that collectively they nearly all end up sounding and feeling very alike. This means that a sense of repetition and fatigue starts to set in about halfway through the record. It’s unfortunate because The Slow Reader’s Club are talented and capable musicians whose material is worth checking out. It could just benefit from a little more diversity.