Album Review: Slow Club – Complete Surrender

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Complete Surrender is Slow Club’s third studio album since 2009’s Yeah So and 2011’s Paradise. Eleven tracks make the cut from Sheffield’s “Young Blades”,  Rebecca Taylor and Charles Watson.

The first two tracks, and indeed a few others, are almost religious experiences.  The opener, Tears Of Joy is Sunday morning spiritual, and Hallelujah! for that.  Next up, Everything Is New. A slightly sharper, Gospel sound,  as if both boy and girl had broken bread and supped wine with the long departed ‘King Of Soul’, Sam Cooke.

After a fairly quiet opening to track three, Suffering You, Suffering Me suddenly bursts into life and resurrects itself. Maybe thanks to the magic of Motown, because that certainly appears to be the driving force behind this hit single – echoes of The Supremes and The Miracles at their Detroit Motor City best.

Not Mine To Love  seems a little overblown. It perhaps tries too hard and is crying out for attention it really doesn’t deserve. As a result is a little harsh and out of place on the album, although the twangy guitar licks are pleasant. However, The Pieces, the new single, is an energetic dance. This number is followed by another number – Number One – with Charles taking the lead and Rebecca on harmonies.

The Queen’s Nose has country leanings, and is beautifully sung by Taylor. Her lovely notes fall into one’s open arms like cherries from a tree. In addition, title track Complete Surrender, also a single off the album, is a glorious march forward.

 Paraguay And Panama has a nice ache, but seems an afterthought. For me, this and Not Mine To Love are the weakest links in an otherwise strong chain. Dependable People And Things I’m Sure Of  is sweetly delivered, with echoes of that classic song, Handbags And Gladrags. A grower.

The last song is Wander Wandering, and we’re back in Church it seems, to pay our final respects to an album with heart and soul. One that successfully welds together country and soulful flavours to create a really strong and vibrant pop album, out now on the Caroline International label.

Mark Watkins