Album Review by Adam Foster
This is an astonishingly self-confident debut album. Slo-Mo, which is essentially a vehicle for Sheffield-based David J Gledhill, have put together a collection of songs that a good many more experienced bands would (and should) envy.
From the sample-driven opener DEATH OF A RAVER to the melancholic closing track – TELL THEM I HAD A GOOD TIME – there is very little that is not immediately compelling here. Standout tracks include the addictive GIRL FROM ALASKA (with some superbly dark and comic couplets), the peculiar CAR ACCIDENT JOE, the reggae inspired THE GOLDFISH AND THE ALLIGATOR, and the Tricky-like BOY FROM THE CITY.
However, the album contains as many flaws as great moments. The repeated Prefab Sprout-like backing vocals – most notable on SHORT STORIES and GIRL FROM ALASKA – are highly irritating; the cod-American (and sometime cod-Jamaican) vocal is reminiscent of Richard Ashcroft at his worst; and the songs seem to follow a distinct musical pattern and tone which eventually renders many of the tracks indistinguishable, despite the variety of musical approaches. Oh, and JUNKIE ON A FAST TRAIN is laughable.
What this album needs, actually, is a little more self-confidence. The confidence to sing in your own voice; the confidence to leave some space, some loose ends, rather than filling every moment with saccharine backing vocals (however ironic they are meant to be); and, above all, the confidence to let the songs – which are good – do their own work. Sometimes, David, it is alright to sing a dark and simple song darkly and simply.