THE SLOW SHOW
“Building from gentle, placid Americana to enormous choruses driven by the added bonus of a colliery brass band, The Slow Show have a deeply emotional impact” Clash
“…a cocktail of The Tindersticks, The National, Lou Reed and Bowie, but without an obvious comparison to any of them” folkradio.co.uk
“What a voice. What an absolutely stunning voice. The Slow Show vocalist Rob Goodwin has one of the most mesmerising vocal styles you will ever listen to” nativemonster.com
There are few bands who are aware of how potent a weapon silence can be in their music. As their name implies, The Slow Show have both a magisterial beauty to their sparse songs and the confidence to let their spellbinding four-minute stories find their mark. Rarely since The Blue Nile has a band created such a powerful, fully realised world from what initially appears such a minimal framework
‘Dream Darling’ is an album that any adult who’s lived a little can identify with; there is a hard-won optimism in its 10 graceful songs. This is music made by five men who, as singer Rob Goodwin explains, have “gone through the typical life-changing experiences that men in their late thirties and forties experience”. Whether that’s the romantic regret of the Tindersticks-inflected drama of ‘Breaks Today’ or overcoming loss in the album’s towering centrepiece ‘Ordinary Lives’, this is music to live in.
Having gone on tour in Germany and Switzerland almost immediately after the band formed in 2010, The Slow Show are a major cult concern and festival regulars in mainland Europe, where they’re signed to Haldern Pop Recordings, the label formed by the team behind the successful festival. At home, their music has been championed by DJs at BBC 6 Music and Radio 2 ever since their debut EP, 2012’s ‘Brother’.
After taking four years to assemble, their 2015 debut album ‘White Water’ was a more aggressive, angry affair, topped off by Goodwin’s mordant baritone vocals. It’s a startling rumble that bears comparison to Leonard Cohen and Mark Lanegan but, on ‘Dream Darling’, Goodwin has honed his vocal range to become a compelling storyteller. He’s a singer who’s now able to narrate the jilted-at-the-altar heartbreak of ‘Last Man Standing’ or ‘Hurts’ tale of a man offering redemption to a sex worker with the necessary levels of wit and pathos, as well as convincingly crooning into the mic.
‘Dream Darling’ was mostly recorded at a farmhouse in the Lake District and produced by Goodwin and Fred Kindt, The Slow Show’s keyboardist. Having experimented with orchestration on ‘White Water’, they were determined to push the classical influences further this time, recording with a choir in Berlin and letting them carry the vocals in places – most notably the soaring wordless finale ‘Brick’, which is the perfect, tear-jerking climax for the album’s theme of change.
No matter how gentle the beauty of their songs, The Slow Show are a band worth shouting about from the rooftops.
The Slow Show: Rob Goodwin (vocals); Fred Kindt (keyboards); Joel Byrne-McCullough (guitar); James Longden (bass); Chris Hough (drums)