Album: Slo-Mo

Slo-Mo, Circus
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The Independent Culture

Slo-Mo is the Sheffield songwriter David Gledhill, who, apart from a couple of Tropicalismo samples from Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz, writes and arranges the 10 tracks of this impressively idiosyncratic debut album, performing most of the parts himself, too. The samples set the tone, which on the single "Death of a Raver" finds Gilberto's scat loop pinned by dramatic power chords, and on "Girl from Alaska" uses the Getz phrase to spice up a Britpop trip-hop deadpan rap. The bassist Kim Woodward and the keyboardist Tracey Wilkinson affect their own approximation of Gilberto's frothy scatting to lend a Stereolab flavour to "Lost Stones", a wistful account of a hitchhiker's odyssey: "Everybody is a lost stone, and every road that we walk upon/ leads to a city we can call our own, then in the morning we'll be gone." Like many of Gledhill's songs, it deals with an aberrant, outsider character, sympathetically regarded. The "Girl from Alaska", for instance, is a borderline homicidal psychopath; the hustling "Boy from the City" falls foul of gangsters; and "Love Hate Devotion" employs a slow reggae skank to explain the narrator's masochistic fascination with an abusive girlfriend. "Car Accident Joe", meanwhile, is an obsessive right out of Crash, forever seeking accident victims to help, in order to assuage his guilt for causing an earlier crash. Throughout, Gledhill offsets his morbid vignettes with engaging hooks and subtle, often deceptively mild arrangements.