Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Slow Pulp deliver another fistful of their wistful melodic rock on Yard


Release date: 29 September 2023
Slow Pulp Yard cover
26 September 2023, 09:00 Written by Kyle Sager

Unlike many young bands in the genre, Slow Pulp seem to have never had any trouble figuring out their sound.

Since their debut Moveys dropped along with the first leaves of the autumn season back in October 2020, Slow Pulp has been a sleeper staple of youthful indie rock – their monthly Spotify audience growing to 1.5 million in the years following. What’s so special about the Madison-born, now Chicago-based band is their ability to infuse an almost slacker-rock feeling into their music while still allowing room for gritty bangers and soft ballads alike. On their sophomore record, that reliability shines through.

When you hear Yard, it doesn’t take long to go “yep, this is definitely Slow Pulp.” As soon as “Gone 2” kicks into gear, that familiar and expertly crafted sound fills your ears. It’s hard not to like, with its sliding, unpredictable melodies and lingering vocals.

Yard’s satisfying spread of ten tracks of varying lengths makes for a smooth listen that never drags or bores you. It’s their ability to make slow-paced rock songs like “Slugs” that on first listen, might sound laid-back and lazy, but that’s just the trick of Slow Pulp. There’s a lot of emotional honesty and melodic genius in the space between Emily Massey’s vocals and the strum of Henry Stoehr’s backing guitars. They’ve got this thread of nostalgia winding itself through all of their music, and you can hear it in the guilt-ridden titular track, arguably containing the most earnest writing on the album.

But then there’s “Carina Phone 1000”, which sounds like Goo Goo Dolls in the best way possible. During the chorus, Massey sings “I told you I’ve been trying all my best / I knew it wasn’t just in my head / That’s life I guess,” her voice dripping with regret. It’s hard to pick which side of Slow Pulp is their better side – they’re simultaneously gifted in both softness and loudness, and that dichotomy is perfectly exemplified in “MUD”, a song that expertly alternates between mellow, contemplative verses and a heavier chorus, melting together in the end into a magically fuzzy outro that’s quintessential Slow Pulp.

What works so well with Yard is that its tracks almost act as little couplets, each pair with similar tones and temperaments yet distinct executions. This aspect of the work creates excellent pacing and flow, and the album never feels like it’s suffocating - it’s always allowed to breathe.

“Broadview” is a tender, introspective pace-change depicting the lonesome fear of falling in love once again, and man, can Massey do melisma right. Pairing together perfectly with its partner and the album closer, “Fishes,” her voice turns to wispy velvet as she sings “Maybe I kinda like myself / But only when I'm alone / Take the sugar out the water / It’s sweetest on its own.” And it’s those little moments that best prove that Slow Pulp themselves have found that same type of sweetness, and with it they’ve delivered their best project thus far.

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