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Slow Club – Village Underground, London 13/05/14

15 May 2014, 12:00 | Written by Joe Daniels

Slow Club’s erstwhile penchant for heart-trampled balladry tonight gives way to a more gleeful, convivial schtick. Opening with “Complete Surrender”, the title track of their upcoming album, any sense of maudlin upsettery is knocked aside by the presence of two backing singers flanking the stage, cheerily belting out the refrain “Can’t help but/ Hide it from you” alongside front-woman Rebecca Taylor.

Charles Watson switching instruments as their backing band add the required attack. It’s fun to see a band have so much fun, clearly excited about the release of an album so darned summery it’s a shame it won’t be heard till July. “Suffering You, Suffering Me”, “Tear’s of Joy”, and “The Pieces” are all set to bring their Bananarama-tinged infectiousness to just about every muddy field they can get to. Older tracks get an airing too. “Beginners”, the song made famous by a music video featuring Daniel Radcliffe hungover in my favourite pub, gets the crowd dancing and reminds everyone that this band used to do their thing primarily on synths.

Of course old habits die hard, and it’s when the the band indulge their more pensive side that the show sags a tiny bit. The songs are strong and affecting, but given the bombastic nature of what we’ve heard so far, it’s a touch wanting. New songs “Paraguay and Panama” and “Wanderer Wandering” are partly responsible.

Closing with an encore of two older songs, “Hackney Marsh” and “Two Cousins”, the Sheffield duo affirm that the impression taken from the night is that of joviality. The lights are brought down for the latter track, which sees everyone stomp around like loons before shuffling off into the night.

This could well be the summer that Slow Club make the step-up to the sun-stained leagues to which they aspire, and on evidence presented tonight you wouldn’t bet against it.

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