St.Leonards UNFD

Australian Guitar - - Cd Reviews - MATT DO­RIA

De­pend­ing on where in the coun­try you are, St. Leonards is ei­ther a bustling hub of cof­fee shops and sky­scrapers in a clut­tered North Syd­ney (and, fun fact, where the

Aus­tralianGuitar HQ is sit­u­ated), or a cute ‘n’ quaint beach town about a half hour east of Gee­long. The de­but al­bum from lo­cal pop-rock­ers Slowly Slowly is named af­ter the lat­ter, and it makes per­fect sense: 13 tracks of pure sum­mery bliss à la riff, it’s the ex­act kind of record you’d want to pop on your Blue­tooth speaker when you first dig your toes into the sand.

To bla­tantly rob from its press re­lease, the LP is strewn all over in strik­ing im­agery and vi­brant metaphors, front­man Ben Ste­wart paint­ing a vivid pic­ture of his per­sonal con­flicts with lyrics that cut deep and sting long af­ter the last notes have rung out. Clean fret­work drenches his mus­ings, a hearty Tele­caster strum paint­ing tracks like “Ten Leaf Clover” and “Alchemy” with sear­ing en­ergy, while acous­tic noodling brings a homely at­mos­phere to “Christ­mas Lights” and “The Butcher’s Win­dow”.

There’s a dis­tinct emo flour­ish that buries it­self on St. Leonards, but therein lies its big­gest pit­fall: Slowly Slowly can’t de­cide whether they’re up to lead the push on emo’s fourth gen­er­a­tion, or join the ranks of arena-dwelling pop acts, and as a re­sult, so many of their tracks toe the line where they never quite reach ei­ther realm en­tirely. Nonethe­less, there are plenty of an­themic jams to steer your at­ten­tion in a pos­i­tive di­rec­tion.

St. Leonards is a fun al­bum, and one well worth crank­ing the por­ta­ble stereo for.

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