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Review: Slow Pulp @ Strange Brew

Touring their sophomore record Yard, Slow Pulp's wispy shoegaze was a Tuesday night treat.

By Jake Paterson, Music Editor

On the surface, Slow Pulp seem to perfectly fit the character of a college band. Playing house shows, musing on adolescent anxiety and relationships over waves of reverb, and attracting an audience of people who would likely give it all up to have what they’ve got. Part teenage dream part click back into reality, their set at Strange Brew was woozy if a little impenetrable. 

After releasing a few EPs in the early days, their debut full length Moveys came out in the global pandemic which, without repeating myself too much, gave us as fans unprecedented time to sit with a body of work and paint it into our own lives. A romantic and heady mix of tracks, it called back to the early 90s whilst not distancing themselves from the late 00s as well; a coming-of-age diary bathed in shoe gaze and indie rock. 

Their latest record Yard instantly calls to mind limitations; that a once distant dream can come circling back to what sits out the back of your own house. It’s about control, who you let in, what you remove, and what you allow to grow there. All classic scrapes on entering your twenties and maturing a little. 

So did we get a set of openness or restriction? A bit of both. The soundscape produced by three (yes three) rhythm guitarists will inevitably be inviting, surrounding you in patterns or slight deviations in direction, and the lead singer’s wispy dream pop voice blended in seamlessly. ‘Trade It’ stuck out from the more low-key tracks, and when the band pushed into a heavier direction, like on ‘Cramps’ and ‘Yard’, there were glimmers of real power and joy.

Yet beyond the shimmering appearance there was really little to discern track to track as their sound slowly began to wash over you rather than absorb you inside. The set became at times a little anonymous, particularly without any real audience address (which typically only works if your music does all the talking), and I caught myself spacing out through the middle swathe of the set.

They do however have a couple of brilliant tracks that they pulled out when needed most. ‘Falling Apart’ is a beautiful ballad that got the crowd swaying and ‘High’ has been on any indie-kid’s playlists for five plus years. When they materialised from the ether, they were brilliant.

Featured Image: Press

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