Slow Pulp – Yard (Anti-)

Slow Pulp – Yard (Anti-)

Coming from Wisconsin via Chicago, Slow Pulp’s first album, Moveys, arrived three years ago in that very strange pandemic-strangled time that would have made it difficult for them to get out and spread the word of their life-affirming music. Therefore, the release of their new record Yard is reason for celebration and brings with it tour dates and the nice stuff that is supposed to surround new albums.

And like that debut, Yard is succinct and to-the-point, half an hour of premium indie pop in the vein of maybe The Beths with a little Juliana Hatfield thrown in. ‘Gone 2’ starts the album in actually quite a low-key way, though a few listens later it takes hold as a powerful opening statement. ‘Doubt’ picks up the pace but singer / guitarist Emily Massey knows the art of subtlety, keeping the vocals in check, never over-singing.

‘Cramps’ knocks things up a notch, a Dinosaur Jr-flavoured diversion, with echoes of My Bloody Valentine too, particularly in Teddy Mathews’ drumming, while ‘Slugs’ slows things back down, Massey’s vocals front and centre as she seemingly explores the theme of rekindling an old relationship (“Perfect all the ways we used to fit together / I think I want back in”). The piano-driven, drumless title track gives a nice contrast to the other songs, if Slow Pulp were R.E.M. then this is their ‘Nightswimming’.

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‘Worm’ explores the shoegaze side of the band’s aesthetic and it suits them, guitarist Henry Stoehr does a fine job in blending distorted guitars with beautifully clear, up-front vocals, an arrangement which makes the songs instantly accessible and appealing. ‘Broadview’ takes us on a very unexpected turn off into Neil Young territory, (of the acoustic Harvest or After The Gold Rush variety), but again, it works, mainly because the material is strong and the songs never outstay their welcome (all are written by the whole band, the three mentioned above plus bassist Alex Leeds). ‘Fishes’ closes the album out with its acoustic guitar and vocals only, almost demo-like quality with some ‘found sounds’ (from a video game arcade?) sending the album off.

Yard is an impressive second album and it will be interesting to see where Slow Pulp go next.

Yard is released by Anti- on 29th September 2023.

Tour dates:

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