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Album Review: St Leonards by Slowly Slowly

Melbourne four piece Slowly Slowly release their second album St Leonards on 11th May via UNFD. Captured by the band themselves in their home of Melbourne. Aside from some early drum recording assistance from Joel Taylor at The Black Lodge Studio, in true DIY spirit, the album was entirely co-produced, recorded and mixed by Alex Quayle (bass) and frontman Ben Stewart.

Slowly Slowly have come a long way since their unlikely beginnings in a label machine factory the Outer Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Since then, they’ve recruited two more members – Patrick Murphy (drums) and Albert Doan (guitar) – dropped their revered debut album, Chamomile, and hit stages across the country with the likes of Citizen, Sorority Noise and Something For Kate, going on to sell out their own headline shows.

Here you’ve got a thirteen track, earnest emo rock album. It’s an instantly likeable, if somewhat underwhelming album. You keep it expecting to move up a gear, yet it stays chugging along in 3rd. There’s touches of emo mixed with late 90s / early 00s American pop rock. Imagine Sorority Noise with Semisonic or the Goo Goo Dolls.

As such it feels like it’s easy to enjoy but hard to get invested in. It’s easy listening, but there’s nothing there to get you invested and make a connection. It’s all just a little to whimsy and nice. There’s the talk of family dynamics on ‘The Cold War’, the Tinder-riddled search for happiness on ‘Ten Leaf Clover’ and finally it all falling into place on ‘Alchemy’. Couple that with the social commentary of ‘Aliens’ and you’d think you’d have the basis for something provoking, yet it’s all a little too bland and dull. Of those tracks ‘Alchemy’ comes the closest to stirring a real reaction and even that doesn’t go much more than your foot tapping along. Check out the churning ‘Smile Lines’ which is the biggest, boldest track – showcasing that there might be something more to Slowly Slowly than much of the album suggests.

All that said you certainly aren’t going to hate St Leonards. It’s inoffensive and easy on the ear. Perfect background music.

AD Rating 6/10

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