SLOW PULP – ” Moveys ” Best Albums Of 2020

Posted: December 26, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , , , , , , ,

The self-produced debut album from indie-rock four-piece Slow PulpEmily Massey (vocals/guitar), Henry Stoehr (guitar), Alex Leeds (bass) and Teddy Mathews (drums)—may as well have been written and recorded in another lifetime. The Madison-bred, Chicago-based band began work on their first full-length last spring, and they redirected their efforts after Massey was diagnosed with Lyme’s disease and chronic Mono; her newfound focus on self-care dovetailed with Slow Pulp fine-tuning their approach to song writing, parallel processes each rooted in accountability and communication.

Vulnerable yet defiant, ‘Moveys’ is ten moving tracks that are guitar driven with a real anthemic quality. Included is the powerful single ‘Idaho’ which is Massey’s account of overcoming her health struggles and finding self-acceptance when being constantly rejected by others:

“The diagnosis validated a lot of what I was feeling. I got tools for how to take care of myself better. The way that I internalize trauma is I will hold it in and not process it for a very long time, but writing songs is the one place where I can’t hide from myself. It just comes out whether or not I want it to or if I’m ready for it to. Figuring out how to write together, as a band, was like me learning how to take care of myself and learning how to communicate better.”

All kinds of bad things prefaced the making of Slow Pulp’s debut album Moveys: frontwoman Emily Massey parents endured a car crash—and then a global pandemic unfolded. Yet the songs that were birthed from these circumstances reverberate with sonic serenity and clarity. Lead single “Idaho” depicts a band reflecting and moving from darkness toward light; Massey’s voice is weightless while she sings the line “I’m losing all the while.” This sprawling ballad fuses indie rock with folk, which a lot of the albums seems to do. “At It Again” leans into indie rock, electrified and spinning from the beginning, and sticks out among the abundance of tamer songs it’s a burst of unrestrained frustration, and it’s refreshing.

Slow Pulp were often been categorized as “shoegaze,” and Moveys exhibits the Chicago band showing off their abilities in other realms. “Falling Apart” proves that they can create gorgeous, slow tracks that resemble Hovvdy or Lomelda; “Movey” showcases their desire for idiosyncrasy with upbeat keyboard effects celebrating the ending of a sad record. It can’t quite be summed up into a single genre, but it can be summed up as an evocative collection of songs that convey the ups and downs of being human. 

These new songs came together in earnest during the band’s fall 2019 tour alongside Alex G, but in March 2020, as they were finishing the album, Massey’s parents were injured in a serious car accident, requiring her to return home to Madison to care for them—soon after, the COVID-19 pandemic’s Stateside spread required her to stay there. The ensuing seven months of lockdown have distorted time almost beyond recognition. The band finished “Moveys” (its title, in part, a nod to the upheaval of its making) from afar, and it’s better than it has any right to be, a vividly realized debut with the bold, exploratory confidence of a mid-career release.

Many bands find it a struggle to gain attention and simply continue to exist in an environment that is so hostile to anyone other than acts with mainstream appeal and huge commercial backing. Indie rock quartet from Slow Pulp were facing these familiar problems the adjustments in Massey’s life led to a radical change in direction for the band and the sound of what has become their debut album ‘Moveys’.

Catch Slow Pulp playing UK shows during February 2021!

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