Within the first ninety seconds you will have a pretty good idea of what ‘Be Slowly’ is all about and what kind of offerings will befall your ears as you listen on to the debut release from Birmingham quartet, JAWS.
It’s not going to blow the music world apart, there’s no Ivor Novello in its future and it’s nothing we haven’t heard before but it is a perfectly capable display of well crafted, mood altering four minute escapes. The songs reside in the dark streets of the city, neon signs and strip lights rinsing late night revellers in a dreamscape half-light. A melting pot of The Cure, Foals and A Grave With No Name, the sounds shift from being upfront, indie stylings; twanging at the threads of tight-jeaned masses in a way that would more than likely result in rooms full of the sallow-faced beardists bobbing their heads in unison to being more distant – like its being played in the next room.
The trouble with bands and albums that go down this road these days is that there are that many of them out there they begin to just be another layer of saturation; saturation of the of the airwaves, saturation of the live listings and saturation of the album with songs that, unless you scoured the lyrics, would all suggest the same sentiment was behind each and every one of them. It’s a tough landscape to stand out in. At any given point on the album you can hear the echoes of possible influences; Maximo Park, The Strokes, Two Door Cinema Club but fed through this filter of partial recall of the night before. The question is whether or not this particular take on the world of the post-Brit Pop indie Hipster is at a significant enough tangent to all the rest to make it into everybody’s record collection – and it’s a difficult one to answer.
If you’re anything like me, you try to ensure you have as many pieces of music that fit every mood and situation possible tucked away in your audio arsenal and I can think of a wealth of occasions when I would flick through to find an album like ‘Be Slowly’ to accompany one introspective, possibly self-indulgent moment of contemplation – that is where it would fulfil it’s potential. If I was looking for something to really blow my hair back or even draw me in off the street to a music venue however, I’m not so sure it would be the melancholic tones of JAWS (although there are some songs on here that would likely be given a bit more of a kick in person, once they were free of the shackles of studio production)
All things considered, this is not a bad debut effort by any means. The tonal qualities are what really leave an impression – they are the trump card in JAWS’s hand – a passive delivery of an unmistakable feeling, straight out of the blocks and to the brain. It’s that kind of creation.
I didn’t want to sing along, I didn’t feel the urge to rock out to it in any way but I couldn’t help but enjoy the picture it painted in my head.