Album Review: The Slow Show – White Water

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At the very beginning of The Slow Show’s debut LP White Water, listeners enter a church-like channel of music, where a choir sings operatic notes with harmonies. As the piano enters, the ears of any National fans will burst with excitement as they’ll compare this Slow Show song with The National’s glorious Fake Empire. The keys of each song don’t totally match up but the feeling in which the piano is played is eerily similar and listeners will begin to believe that they are listening to a British version of the Brooklyn-based band.

If the piano doesn’t perk you up, once the singer comes in you are forced to react. Rob Goodwin has an extra rasp stuck in his throat when he sings, which is definitely intentional because his vocal style fluctuates throughout the album. The vocals in Dresden are so unmusical that he may as well be having a conversation with us. Although the vocals are hard to bear, the music is very intriguing as the full band sound drops.

Bloodline is definitely the strongest on the record in all aspects. Goodwin presents a more tender, clean voice on this track over a building acoustic guitar riff, which is complemented by light percussion and soft piano chord crashes. The song gets stronger when the electric guitar surfaces one minute into the track. This is a very noticeable transition because at this point in the song the electric guitar melody is in harmony with the bass guitar groove. However, while listeners may enjoy the unique style of The Slow Show, they might feel that this British indie rock group is ripping off The National a bit too much.

Although White Water provides a non-popular musical genre and some songs on the album are intriguing, the majority of the album fails to be memorable. The music definitely has potential but hopefully some day the singer will lose the frog in his throat and commit to one vocal style. Even Matt Berninger sings in a slightly groggy tone to complement the darkness of The National’s music but it works in a way that Rob Goodwin fails to accomplish with The Slow Show.

Scott Herman