‘Build a Tower’ is the third studio album from Mancunian indie rockers The Slow Readers Club. Following up 2014’s ‘Cavalcade’, the new release sees the band stick to their guns, staying true to the contemporary indie sound that brought them to the dance.
The key word is ‘perseverance’. The Slow Readers Club are persevering with their mature modern indie rock sound, not too unlike a number of their contemporaries, including Foals and Editors. If you feel this vogue style of rock music isn’t worth your time, you may at least enjoy some of the band’s ‘80s throwback-esque songs, with opener ‘Lunatic’ immediately smacking of new wave, a Duran Duran synth pop vibe, alongside ‘You Opened Up My Heart’, with chord sequences, background guitar licks and vocals that sound like some sort of strange New Order / Human League mashup – the former is fitting, Manchester and all that…
The main talking point of ‘Build a Tower’ is its textures, its arrangements comprising of ever-present bass, wispy backing synths, and effect pedal-heavy guitars that we can only assume were stolen from The Edge when he wasn’t looking. Because the Slow Readers’ sound is fairly similar to a number of bands of the same ilk, their style of texture isn’t particularly special, it’s commonplace, but it’s at least worthwhile on tracks like ‘On the TV’ and to a point ‘Supernatural’, with gliding vocals that make for some catchiness to battle it out with the blushing, fuzzy synths, and twinkling guitars.
A few more tracks, such as ‘Lives Never Known’ and ‘Not Afraid of the Dark’ are intense, passionate and danceable, but the more you climb through the layers upon layers of samey soundscapes and empty songwriting, you’ll realise ‘Build a Tower’ is stagnant, not a regression in anyway, just stilted and sluggish.
If you’re already a fan of The Slow Readers Club, you’ll find the core sound of ‘Build a Tower’ fulfilling, but it’s hard to see the album bringing many new fans in. Musically solid, but creatively unaware.
‘Build a Tower’ is out now via Modern Sky