Review Summary: An oversized soundoff about a band with an undersized audience. You should help them correct that.
At their peak capability, Slow Fiction play with a reckless abandon that the indie rock scene has been desperately missing for over a decade now. Even in its more tranquil moments, their self-titled debut EP vibrates with an undercurrent of vigorous energy that makes its more impressive offerings endlessly listenable. From the gargantuan waves of guitars that open “In the distance, where it doesn’t matter” to the similarly powerful squall that closes “Brain Protection Agency”, Slow Fiction
regularly shifts through dynamic ranges and emotional angles, but never stops being lively. “In the distance”’s quieter verses thrum with the vibrant expectance of a storm to come, punctuated by the wallop of a drummer who understands how to adjust their levels to fit the song, but somehow simultaneously never stops going hard in the paint. The aforementioned “Brain Protection Agency” and the absolutely sublime “Top 10 Movie Scenes” work with comparable textures at a slower tempo, with the latter gracefully unveiling itself as one of the single best songs of 2023 thus far through its angelic vocal harmonies, seismic crescendos, and gorgeous coda. Elsewhere, “Jericho” and “Madman” opt to dial the energy up to about 12 for their entireties, with mixed results; the latter makes ill-advised use of a rather corny minor-fourth interval, and also serves to further stagnate the EP’s previously unfettered momentum, alongside the toothless preceding interlude “(take four)”. “Jericho”, however, utilizes the EP’s rawer production style to great effect, with frantic hi-hats and muted strums slicing through the mix like a knife through butter. It’s not my favorite track on Slow Fiction
, but it might be the track that most wholly embodies what Slow Fiction are about at this point in time; plugging in, playing some shows, making some memories, getting the crowd moving, and crafting nefariously animated earworms to embed in the minds of their listeners for days on end.