Slowly Slowly haven’t been around for long, but they’ve built themselves a loyal following around Melbourne, and now with their debut album Chamomile we can see just how they’ve done it. Their unpretentious approach and genuine nature forges a strong and rare connection with the listener that only occurs when a band honestly put themselves into their music.
Slowly Slowly’s distinct sound has quickly flowered, and their debut LP Chamomile is all the proof we need that they’re bringing a new edge to Aussie Punk!
When it comes to music, the wheel doesn’t have to be re-invented – bands just need put their own spin on it, and so while this record isn’t displaying a ground-breaking sound it is taking a fresh approach giving it a new appeal.
More than just a homage to the sounds that they take their inspirations from, it’s like Slowly Slowly have simply written an album for themselves, and the sounds of it just happens to lie in a place somewhere between the loud guitars of the 90’s and the heartfelt approach of early 2000’s punk.
And there’s an important difference there, between a band who are simply paying tribute to their influences and a band who are producing music that nods to their origins yet stands boldly in its own right as a strong example of song-writing. Thankfully Chamomile, and Slowly Slowly are an illustration of the latter.
The instruments are all played with real talent. The drums can take the supporting role in the more delicate moments, or they can storm into the soundscape in thunderous fashion. The guitars provide the catchiness with crunchy sliding power chords, and playful but unpretentious riffs, while the vocals of front-man Ben Stewart are at their best when the imperfections are allowed to show through.
Whether it’s the shakiness that sometimes present during quieter, vulnerable moments when Stewart’s almost whispering, or the strain present during the louder parts – it all adds to the raw honesty that is crucial to the bands’ sound.
It helps in no small part that the album has some world class production, providing clarity to the recording without taking away the immediacy of the sound. There are times in which you could swear the band are playing in the same room as you.
In the internet age where bands are subject to harsh scrutiny as soon as they upload their first track it’s a bold move to make a first release an album, as opposed to a four or five track EP – and perhaps that’s the reason for the album only tallying eight tracks – but it worked for Camp Cope’s debut earlier this year and it works well for Slowly Slowly here on Chamomile.
The curious absence of previous two singles, the power-pop-rock Go Easy and slick guitar filled Empty Lungs, hints at progression and growth early in the bands still very short lifetime.
Considering the album is only eight tracks long, (the phrase good things come in small packages has never been truer) it impressively showcases a range of different song formats; there’s the straight up adrenaline filled guitar heavy tracks like Good Friends and Hey You, there’s quieter acoustic numbers like Elbows and Chamomile that feel authentic as opposed to the usual obligatory acoustic track found on most punk rock albums.
And there are slow-burners that gradually build and then erupt in beautiful fashion, like on the semi-acoustic album finisher New York, Paris or the five minute epic Pussy Makes The World Go Round, which features the vocals of Tom Lanyon from the band’s musical brothers-in-arms Ceres in an explosion of instruments and over-lapping vocals ending in a strikingly drawn out note from Lanyon, making for one of the most exhilarating moments on the album.
Death Proof is lyrically the strongest of the eight tracks – its three minutes of front-man Ben Stewart spouting a tale that takes you round the world with seamless poetic flow, showcasing some seriously impressive song-writing.
The strongest moments on the record are those in which the music builds up, before suddenly stopping, leaving a silence only to be filled by Stewart’s voice singing salient lines like “Despite what you’ve heard, mistakes will keep you warm at night” and “The best advice that I could give, is to not become a derivative” in achingly emotive fashion that’ll have the hairs on your arms standing up.
Slowly Slowly excel in those 30 second moments in which the band are firing on all pistons building to explosive crescendos, with Stewart letting loose a stream of lyrics that hit home with the listener. Chamomile is simply an album you can’t help but be swept away by.