Rising Australian indie rock band Slowly Slowly are back with new album ‘Race Car Blues’, and have brought old school punk rock with them.
Last year in February, I went to Hope Estate in the Hunter Valley to see Red Hot Chilli Peppers live. I wasn’t expecting to leave with too many memories other than seeing some classic RHCP tunes being rocked out, and Anthony Kiedis and Flea going wild on stage. However, the support act at the beginning of the show was Slowly Slowly, an indie Australian band from Melbourne I hadn’t heard of at the time, but they were incredible performers and couldn’t have set a better tone for the night.
The year ahead saw the band releasing singles teasing an upcoming album, and the songs were pretty awesome. The album, ‘Race Car Blues’, has finally dropped, and is truly something special.
It’s a particularly moody album that doubles down on a punk tone, unlike anything I’ve heard from Australian bands in recent years. It’s lyrically heavy and thematic, and the intense vocals from lead singer Ben Stewart don’t disappoint.
‘Race Car Blues’: My Thoughts
While all rockers will love this album, those who particularly enjoyed edgy 2000’s punk rock while growing up, will find many things to appreciate about this album. As one of those people, the album for me gives old school Blink-182 vibes in certain songs, which I’m definitely not complaining about.
The first song on the album is ‘Creature of Habit’, which was a nice surprise. A little while ago, a song called ‘Creature of Habit Pt. 2’ was released as a single, and it was awesome. Stewart stated that Part 2 was actually written first, which makes sense now. Both are very similar songs; they have different verses but share the same chorus. The difference is that ‘Creature of Habit’ is slower and not as rocked out as ‘Pt. 2’. It’s a great showcase of their musical talent by taking the same words and creating a completely different mood. Whichever is the better song, is a question that ultimately depends on your musical taste. For me, it has to be ‘Pt. 2’.
Another standout on the album for me is ‘Safety Switch’, the third song that features the relatively unknown artist Bec Stevens. Her voice is pretty fire, and reminds me of Hayley Williams of Paramore. It teams up well with Stewart’s voice and nails the song’s theme of conflict in relationships.
As well as being powerful and energetic, the album keeps a nice balance with the slower songs that are more emotionally charged, while not compromising the band’s signature sound. For me, these were ‘Suicidal Evangelist’ and ‘Superpowers’ . I wouldn’t say these particular songs bored me, but they took longer for me to appreciate. As well as these two, I found that ‘Michael Angelo’ was a nice balance between both sides of the album, though it also took me a few listens to get into it.
The final track on the album is the titular ‘Race Car Blues’, and couldn’t be a more fitting conclusion. Stewart has stated that the song is his favourite that he’s ever written, and it’s easy to see why.
Overall, ‘Race Car Blues’ is an album I can’t really say anything bad about.
Each song on the album offers something new and comprises a diverse whole, while still maintaining the band’s distinct tone. Sure, the ‘slower’ songs (no pun intended) were the weaker ones for my liking, but they give a nice balance to the album, and I’m sure I’ll grow to like them after a few more listens. I’m not exactly sure what certain songs are saying in terms of lyrics just yet, but they’re wacky and thought-provoking. And as a fan of the genre, I’m happy to see a new Aussie band reviving punk. They’ve won me over as a fan and I’m looking forward to whatever they pump out in the future.
Slowly Slowly begin their National Album Tour in Sydney on Friday 17th April.
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