Before this debut album arrived to review, I already had 12 Slow Club tracks on my iTunes, which gives some idea of how prolific they’ve been already. So here are 12 more (13 if you include the secret track), and, mostly, they’re a very welcome addition to the Slow Club cannon.
The album begins uber-sweetly with ‘When I Go’ – a calling card warning anyone not expecting a cute indie-pop album to change channel immediately. From here on in, Yeah So is a familiar mix of loud, shouty numbers – pounding drums, Charles’ chiming guitar melodies and joyful boy/girl vocals, often layered to give the impression of a whole room full of Rebeccas – followed by quieter, tenderer tracks. Recent single ‘It Doesn’t Have to be Beautiful’ is perfect pop, while ‘Trophy Room’ is the standout shout-folk moment.
Overall though, the album is less (anti?) folkie than you might expect. There’s a bit of Tilly and the Wall and Bright Eyes in the mix, especially on ‘Our Most Brilliant Friends’, but mostly this is straight ahead, well-behaved indie-pop. Thankfully though, by mixing the tempo and the vocal duties, they do manage to keep things interesting. Lyrically, the focus is firmly on relationships – especially the doom and gloom bits – literally on the slightly MOR-sounding ballad ‘Sorry About the Doom’, more abstractly on ‘Dance to the Morning Light’ (“If I can’t change for you, I won’t change for me”).
But it’s the hidden track, ‘Too Much Crunkin’/’Boys on their Birthday’ (depending on which blog you read), sung by Rebecca, that’s the clincher. The confessional lyrics, which recall early Emmy the Great track ‘Canopies and Grapes’, feel more genuine than anything else here – “I’m just a northern girl from where nothing ever happens / And the bones inside my shins are crumbling”. But, before you get too down, the album ends with the greatest explanation ever: “It’s from all the crunking I’ve been doing”.
Not a life-changing album, but a great debut nevertheless – a wide-eyed antidote to all the cynical retro-futurist crap being peddled in 2009.
Words: Joe Downie