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Slow Six

Tomorrow Becomes You

[Western Vinyl; 2010]

By ; February 1, 2010 

Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOG

I’ve never been one to categorize things with tags describing what genre of music they fit into. The majority of the time it’s quite simply too hard, because the best bands span so many styles. As a result, you have to blurt out some pretentious and long-winded label that doesn’t actually open up the avenues for intrigue, but rather opens up the doors of prejudice when people will start assuming the music is typical and uninventive. The best music goes beyond one category (bands like Subtle or Field Music) and some damn fine music can just be simple one-genre stuff at points (a great deal of the second album from Future Of The Left, Travels With Myself And Another, is straight up rock and it’s awesome for this fact); it’s just about the execution of the material. But if I had to – and because I’m unlikely to be able to use this term ever again – I would have to describe Slow Six as “ambient Irish-folk post-rock”.

Okay, fair enough, the Irish-folk part only applies to opening song “The Night You Left New York,” but it’s still a little zany upon your first encounter. After the initial bemusement you might well suffer on your first listen, the moment the violin starts playing on the track, emerging from an intro that sounds something like Max Richter’s work on the Waltz With Bashir soundtrack, it sounds relatively normal. But at other points the violin has a different kind of worldly style to it, such as “Because Together We Resonate” where it quivers around an almost Oriental lilt.

The post-rock and ambient elements do however run through the album, both to varying success. The already mentioned opening track does use a different path to what might be expected when you read the words “post-rock” and conjure up images of Explosions In the Sky or Do Make Say Think with their overbearing and soaring guitars with destructive drumming patterns. But despite its regional style, the track lacks any definable flair and just hovers about for about seven or eight minutes until its climaxes in the final minutes. “Cloud Cover (Part 1)” begins on a promising note with guitars building tension and sweeps of violin, sounding like it taking a step back before it’s about to launch itself at you. However, all it really does is merely throw big chords at you for five minutes in an attempt to grab your attention and make you think something exciting is happening.

The ambient side to the album is more successful though. Once “Cloud Cover (Part 2)” settles from its misty noise and radio chatter, it becomes calming and the streaks of violin only do the track favours, acting like the reassuring warmth of lighthouse amidst clearing fog. But as interesting and nice as it is to listen to, its inquisitive style kind of goes against the idea of ambience. The violin will likely engage the listener and the various sound bites are curious enough and easy to hear that you will actively listen to the conversations happening. It’s hard to let this track go by you and have on in the background, whereas the rest of the album is oddly more satisfying when you’re playing it as a sort of background music. If feels more satisfying to let the whole thing wash over you and dip in and out when you want to, most likely when interesting things are happening in the music.

There are a few good moments that you’ll recall and enjoy over again when you play Tomorrow Becomes You: the pizzicato on “These Rivers Between Us” is pretty awesome and it acts as an engaging break for the track to build itself up from again; the electronic musings on “Sympathetic Response System (Part 1)” are somewhat groovy, only let down by my own dissatisfaction that I should be more impressed by the track or that more should be happening in it. But I suppose the disappointing fact is that these moments feel few and far apart throughout the album’s playing. Slow Six might just be an example in that, though they may hit on quite a few styles here, but that doesn’t make them distinctly better. It’s not even overkill; they show a restrain for not getting carried away with ideas, only drawing out the parts they likely felt were worth extending. It’s just a shame these ideas weren’t overly impressive to begin with because, as said, this just makes the more notable parts harder to find and more tiring to work your way towards.


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