Change is a daunting thing, especially in regards to the small moments that add up to transition, before anything really feels clear or an end result is entirely known. Madison-natives-now-Chicago-locals Slow Pulp capture the feelings of this unsettling limbo in their latest EP, Big Day.
Slow Pulp is Emily Massey (guitar/vocals); Henry Stoehr (guitar); Alex Leeds (bass) and Teddy Mathews (drums) and the release is their sophomore EP, if not counting EP1 that was made before Massey joined the group, but that EP is no longer on streaming services.
The sound of the record doesn’t stray far from that of their earlier work, but there is something to it that reflects a newly established confidence that the band has. They’re no longer testing out or toying around, this is what they want to sound like so this is what they’re going to sound like. Massey’s voice is particularly something to talk about, as this is the first full release with her as vocals of the group and she has stepped into the role with a captivating force.
“High,” the EP’s single that was comically released on 4/20, is a nod to the shoegaze sound of their earlier releases, with heavy guitar and lyrics that convey the unsettling sensation of not feeling entirely in control of yourself. The lyrics ache with insecurity, as Massey notes “my shirt sits on my body/like it’s not for me/and now I’m trying to find my way out/I wish I knew how.”
The closing track, “Young World,” is more laid back, reflecting on the pace in which life moves, with a slowly inching tempo and paralleling effects that crescendo. Despite how fast it may feel like life is moving, the song contrastingly takes its time in recognizing the wonderment that can surround growing up and the tenderness of wishing you never did. During the chorus, Massey vocalizes “I feel it for the first time/I wonder what that’s like,” while on the second chorus she asserts that “I feel it for the first time/I know what that’s like.”
The song, in its own unintentional way, is also a commentary on how today there is a pressure to be constantly moving, going, and doing. The line “How does it feel to be so young?/How does it feel to not be caught up?” conveying the all too familiar feeling that accompanies adulthood and the expectation to always be achieving.
Big Day is a big deal and should be recognized and listened to as such. The band’s writing is biting, as they capture the disorting values of the world we live in with instrumentals that mirror a nearly dystopian-like sound.
You can find Slow Pulp on social media at @/slowpulpband and their music is on all streaming platforms. Catch them on tour this summer with Remo Drive, tickets available on their website.