The Slow Readers Club – Cavalcade

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The Slow Readers Club – Cavalcade

There was a phrase that used to crop up in the music press every other week that I could never quite decipher the full definition of. ‘Landfill Indie’ wasn’t and still isn’t a compliment, but I thought I had at least part of it translated and it basically referred to bands whose musical credibility was in some way questionable, not the groovy kids of pre-2012 Shoreditch or the artistically-gifted northern outsiders, or any of the US or European bands to whom the phrase couldn’t refer as the rules for non-UK musicians were slightly different. Maximo Park, The Enemy, Arctic Monkeys, The Courteeners, The Wombats … the list of offending bands was a lengthy one. I took it that it referred to bands that were displaying indie credentials when they were in fact to all intents and purposes major label acts, with proper if subtly managed contracts, guaranteed tour slots as support and headline acts at chain venues such as Barfly, festival appearances, advertising budgets and of course press coverage, where they could expect to find themselves taken down an inch or two as industry puppets, preventing the Landfill referencing journalists college mates from getting the attention they deserved.

‘It all made for some interesting writing’ is I suppose the defence of that descriptive approach to any band with a budget of over £500 and a website with things that move on it, but I never liked the fake sounding cynicism of the phrase, particularly when I realised that ‘Landfill Indie’ was just an edgy sounding shorthand for a more accurate term – ‘crossover’. Bands that were developing ideas and images that had originated in the hand-coloured sleeve and Myspace world of the bedroom amateurs and of their own, and while not exactly smoothing down the more ragged edges, presenting mainstream audiences with music that they wouldn’t have heard two years previously.

If I were feeling particularly sardonic I could describe The Slow Readers Club as ‘Landfill’. They aren’t by any measure even remotely an indie band, with a CV that includes the approval of Coldplay, media appearances that go beyond the local ‘introducing’ radio shows, hefty kudos from the music press and actual popularity, topping national radio polls and becoming a cool name to drop among those whose interest in music isn’t perhaps a very detailed one. Their second album Cavalcade is smartly produced and with a depth that avoids too much reliance on studio trickery or unbalanced loudness, and if they don’t sound like the most original band anyone has heard this or last year then, so what. It’s a more than competent and occasionally inspired album, the sound of a band that know what they and their audience want and that has the sort of album sleeve that will sell because it looks colourful and interesting (how many albums did I buy for that reason? – several). Indie purists may scoff, but without bands like The Slow Readers Club we may as well just go home and listen to our parents’ 8-track collections, or go hillwalking or take up stamp collecting or some other less challenging interests. The Slow Readers Club are music for people that aren’t even sure if they like music. Expect to see their name in slightly prominent lettering on the festival billings this summer.

Official Website