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Immersive vulnerability and a succinct sonic glow up firmly link the brand new album from Slowly Slowly, Daisy Chain, to the band’s collective past, present and future in 2022.
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Already beloved for their “heart on sleeve” lyrical stylings and glossy indie rock flair, the Melbourne quartet have steadily become headline, festival, and airwave faves, with their 2020 full length Race Car Blues snagging the group their first ever top 10 album charting; a fact made particularly bittersweet with the very album released right on the cusp of the COVID pandemic taking shape in Australia. But building emphatically on the pathways paved by Race Car Blues, and its 2021 follow up Race Car Blues Chapter Two, Daisy Chain finds Slowly Slowly breaking vigorously free of the atmosphere and emerging into a weightless, infectious, and ambitious new chapter.
Kicking off with its own title track, and most notably one of the last songs to be written for the eventual new album, Daisy Chain is a singalong masterpiece, buoyantly flexing the songwriting chops of frontman Ben Stewart, while also deftly laying the foundations for the overarching album to follow. Across the board, Slowly Slowly are in peak form from the get-go on Daisy Chain, with balanced arrangements, affable delivery, and the creamy vocals of Stewart himself.
Gritting up proceedings somewhat, Blueprint follows on next with slightly rockier wares and irresistible beats, à la the catchy bounce of Biffy Clyro mixed with the Aussie charm of Luca Brasi. Next up, the slight stadium-pop-rock anthem Turn It Around switches gears momentarily, with vigorous melodics, fiery guitars, and stomping beats making it the only one of its kind on Daisy Chain; but a very welcome addition nonetheless. From here, Slowly Slowly traverse breezy toe-tappers (Forget You), full-blown pop (Forget You, Achilles Heel), and jangly earworms (Hold My Breath), with each passing song simply begging to be sung along to at sunset at a summer festival. But just when you’ve settled in for some dancefloor fun, Daisy Chain takes a poignant turn, with the sublime acoustic gem Medicine and the emo-ready slowburner God flitting between hard-hitting emotives and captivating arrangements, particularly via the brief string outro lying in wait at the end of God.
Capturing joy, pain, frustration, curiosity and beyond, Daisy Chain bonds the entire human experience into a nuanced collection of 12 tracks, while decisively declaring the beginning of a beautiful new era for Slowly Slowly.
Longshot returns to rockier waters, with plenty of pop-rockin’ and boppin’ goodness on offer, while also offering a resonating ode to self belief. And speaking of literal longshots, penultimate track Moving Trains, featuring Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba, was itself a decade in the making, with Stewart repeatedly attempting to find a home for the tune on each Slowly Slowly album to date. Fortunately, it adds a sturdy and thoroughly enjoyable presence to Daisy Chain overall, and the familiar stylings of Carrabba is certainly some divine sonic icing on this cake. And closing out in vivid yet subdued fashion, Papier-Mache is an elegant and captivating end point for Daisy Chain, laden with sparse instrumentation, polished pianos, and layered vocals. Repeating “it’s too late for me” over and over as the album concludes, Papier-Mache is a touching and forthright ending that intimately pulls you into Slowly Slowly’s core one last time before gently melting away.
A band who have been honing their pop, punk, and indie rock fare since emerging back in 2015 via debut single Empty Lungs, Slowly Slowly have wholeheartedly embraced leaned further than ever before into pop contrasted against darker lyricism on Daisy Chain, resulting in an album that could simultaneously slap in a live setting while also offer catharsis and solace for life’s harder moments. Capturing joy, pain, frustration, curiosity and beyond, Daisy Chain bonds the entire human experience into a nuanced collection of 12 tracks, while decisively declaring the beginning of a beautiful new era for Slowly Slowly.
STANDOUT TRACKS: Daisy Chain, Turn It Around, Medicine, Moving Trains
STICK THIS NEXT TO: Luca Brasi, Dear Seattle