Slow Hollows: Romantic

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Album Artwork. Romantic by Slow Hollows

Slow Hollows is a six-piece indie rock band from Los Angeles, California consisting of two guitars, a bass guitar, a trumpet, a synthesizer, and drums. Their first album (as “Slow Hollows”), Atelophobia (which, by the way, is “an anxiety disorder where the afflicted person feels like all they do is wrong”) was released on June 30th, 2015 and consisted of some of their most popular songs such as “Dark Comedyand “Nerves.”

On November 4th, 2016, however, Slow Hollows released arguably their best compilation of songs yet. With a much more matured sound, Romantic describes a coming-of-age tale through various melodies, rhythms, and detailed instrumentals.

The album starts off with a lively yet angsty “Spirit Week.” The vocals throughout the song alternate through a vocal rhythm that consists of a dropping and heightening of tone which was completely unexpected – but refreshing at the same time. The chorus, though seemingly nonexistent within the song, is entirely instrumental. This song, overall, is an astonishing variation to Slow Hollow’s previous releases and, therefore, works as the most appropriate first song on their newest album.

The second track on the album is the jazz-infused first single, “Again.” With soothing vocals and an overall relaxing vibe, “Again” is almost entirely different from the previous song – yet fits so well with their overall sound. This song is where the trumpet is fully introduced in all of its jazzy glory – especially after the insane buildup of the pre-chorus. Again, the chorus is lyrically minimal yet heavily instrumental, which simply showcases their talents even further than their previously released albums. The song ends on a wonderful little note that makes for a perfect transition to the next song, “Easy.

“Easy” starts off on a light, simple note; then, about 20 seconds into the song, a strong instrumental proceeds. It tones down to allow for Austin’s soothing vocals and a synth that plays in the background throughout most of the song. The lyrics are very meaningful and the instrumental build-ups allow for a full emphasis of the emotional power behind this song.

The next song is “4141.” As an entirely instrumental song, “4141” is only one of two of its kind within the band’s entire discography, right besides “Windmark” off of their earliest album, I’m Just As Bad As You Are. The song is almost meditational and reminds me of those “zen” relaxation videos that show various scenes within nature – namely running water and the breeze blowing through the leaves of trees.

Bringing the energy back up from the previous song is the second single off the album, “Softer.” With its classic horror movie-esque synth rhythm and daunting lyrics, “Softer” is a shocking revival from the near meditational state that “4141” leaves you in.

Next up is “Hospital Flowers” which sounds a lot more like the band’s previous releases than the rest of the album. “Hospital Flowers” brings back their garage rock sound that can be heard in their older releases, such as “Liars” and “The Pool.” Though the resemblance is there, the song still shows musical development that sets it apart from anything off of I’m Just As Bad As You Are and Atelophobia. The vocals dance with the guitars in a wonderful way and the instrumental bit two-thirds of the way through the song reminds me of Muse’s drum-infused build up in their song “Resistance.” Overall, “Hospital Flowers” shows how much the band has grown within this past year, yet works as a great reminder of the wonderful tunes they’ve released in the past.

Changing the mood entirely is the seventh song on the album, “Luxury of Lull.” It has that same garage-rock feel but mixed with lo-fi sounds and vocals that remind me of SALES’ “Ivy.” Again, however, there’s an instrumental build-up at the end that reiterates that sense of revitalization that seems to be a huge theme of the album as a whole.

“Last Dance,” the second to last song on the album, brings in classic indie pop vibes to the more somber collection of songs that make up Romantic. With sounds that resemble the wonderful world of 80’s pop, “Last Dance” is a feel-good song with those dreamy guitars.

The final track on the album is the song “Romantic,” featuring Pageants. “Romantic” is a relatively short song that leaves a sweet aftertaste in your ears, and makes you want to do the thing that makes you the happiest with the people you care about the most. The merging of Pageants’ light, airy vocals along with Austin’s deep, dark vocals works perfectly to create the best conclusion to the emotionally heavy yet groovy compilation of songs.

Overall, Romantic manifests Slow Hollows’ fast musical development through its brilliant variety of moods, sounds, and lyrically-told stories. The album is very eclectic as it incorporates jazzy undertones and garage-rock instrumentals along with lo-fi vocals and pop-like moments spread out throughout the album. It includes remnants of various other artists’ sounds, yet has its own, individualistic sound that makes it stand alone in the galaxy of new and preexisting albums. From being our Local Artist To Watch to releasing their third studio album, Slow Hollows aren’t stopping anytime soon. They’ll be hitting the road with Cherry Glazerr for the next two months. -j

Listen to Romantic here.

Buy Romantic here.

Catch Slow Hollows on tour here.

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