By Aaron Christensen
Two months out from releasing their sophomore album St. Leonards, and fresh from signing a deal with UNFD, Melbourne punk-rock four piece Slowly Slowly have dropped a new single – Alchemy. With touches of 90’s rock, a dash of pop-punk verging on emo and effervescent lyricism, Alchemy shows a burgeoning band with the world at their feet.
Alchemy is commonly referred to as the practice of transmuting eleents – changing lead into gold, while also containing a spiritual element – changing and gathering yourself. In the raucous new single, lyricist and vocalist Ben Stewart hones in on this spiritual aspect, with the lyrics encapsulating a time of clarity in an otherwise tumultuous life. Almost as a narrative, the lyrical exploration of living with constant, oppressive anxiety is complemented by riotous yet melodic guitaring, with one of the best riffs of the year as the hook – and it really does hook you.
Rising from a soft hi-hat tap, into an explosive drum beat, an absolutely sublime guitar lick then dropping into rhythmic strumming and Ben Stewart’s silken, evocative vocals, the song crescendos and falls, expressing the unpredictability anxiety can bring. ”Scrape my knees down to the bone, fall asleep while driving home, we’re making gold” he softly croons at the end of the second verse, accentuating the helpless and hopeless feeling. The repetition of the line “We’re making gold” is crucial to the song, as it ties in the literal meaning of alchemy and the metaphorical, and represents the shift towards hopeful clarity expressed in the third verse as the instruments and vocals triumphantly soar.
Slowly Slowly have masterfully crafted a song that tells a story expressing the rawest of human emotions, with intricate yet at times delicate instruments and vocals that accentuate the evocative power of the lyrics. St. Leonards is sure to be one of the albums of the year.
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