Slowly Slowly – Daisy Chain
Released: November 4th, 2022
Ben Stewart // vocals/guitar
Albert Doan // guitar
Alex Quayle // bass
Patrick Murphy // drums
Slowly Slowly have been putting out music at quite a fast pace over the last three years, with 2020’s Race Car Blues and its accompanying follow up Race Car Blues Chapter 2 in 2021. They’ve also been busy playing stages all over the country, and in keeping up their momentum, their fourth album Daisy Chain is released on November 4th.
I approached this album in a different way. I’m usually one to listen and take notes on each track the first time through and then listen again and write it up. This time though, I listened to the whole album one evening while I was getting ready for the weekend, and although I wondered how I’d go not taking notes on my first listen, allowing myself to casually listen to it afforded me other opportunities.
It’s the moments where you stop and cock your head because you heard something you like, or when you’re bopping along to a track and then realise what you’re doing—that’s when you get swept up in a journey a lot more unconsciously than when you’re sitting down listening intentionally.
We start off really sweetly with ‘Daisy Chain’ and I love the run-along lyrics—it feels like one of Slowly Slowly’s defining traits. Adding in little parts where the crowd can join in, like the ‘La-de-la-de-da’ and the ‘Oh!’, are embellishments that aren’t overworked and it’s very easy to fall into participation.
We’ve been hearing ‘Blueprint’ since May 2021, can you believe it? We’ve been hearing this song for over a year before the album, and it’s still just as catchy as release day. It’s proven to be a crowd favourite and with such relatable lyrics (‘Fuck the world we just made a coffee’), it’s settled into Slowly Slowly’s catalogue with ease.
‘Turn It Around’ was one that really made me stop and pay attention—it’s so different. We don’t often hear Slowly Slowly write songs like this, and it almost seems like an odd addition to the album. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a standout, but it’s the only song of it’s kind on Daisy Chain. Maybe it’s that the guitars have more solo time, or that it’s very atmospheric and has a serious feel to it. I can’t put my finger on what’s so different and captivating about this track, but if it means I have to listen to it a million times while I try and figure it out, I’m fine with that.
‘Forget You’ is, of course, such a fun track, but it kind of slips into the background if you’re not focusing on it. I do think this song has the potential to really grow on me though. But ‘Nothing On’, now that is a bit of a suggestive song. Ignore the upbeat and peppy music for a second and focus on the lyrics. Is it “nothing on” in terms of nothing to do, or wearing no clothes? I think it’s the latter.
‘Achilles’ Heel’ is a dance floor song where you make awkward eye contact with your friends and whip out those embarrasing dance moves while trying to keep a straight face. I can’t write anything else about this song now that I have that image in my head. Great song!
‘Hold My Breath’ is going to become a favourite because that chorus is one that you’ll be screaming out in the car. This song really showcases how much of a tight unit the band is, because the music swells and fades in just the most perfect moments. But ‘Medicine’ seems like it’s meant to be an interlude, or perhaps an aside from the album. The two minute song is just acoustic guitar and chill vocals. Almost pure poetry.
‘God’ is another track that caught my ear about three minutes in. Slowly Slowly is a very vocal heavy band, and that is one of their strengths, but it’s songs like this and ‘Turn It Around’ where the guitars are given more time to shine and create their own soundscapes. It almost gives the song depth that the vocals alone couldn’t achieve, even though they portray such emotion. A violin enters the mix and oh gosh, it’s beautiful. With this song to build off, Slowly Slowly could put out an instrumental, atmospheric album and it would be incredible.
We’re jerked back to reality with ‘Longshot’ and it’s fast paced and high energy vibes. But let’s talk about ‘Moving Trains’ which features Dashboard Confessional, and if that isn’t a perfect pairing, I don’t know what is. Chris Carrabba slips into the song effortlessly for a verse and it turns out this track was 10 years in the making.
“I wrote this love song over 10 years ago, and when I listened back to the demo I was flooded with emotion,” Vocalist Ben Stewart shares. “I mainly felt pity at all of the angst, competitiveness and self-deprecation that plagued my younger years when navigating love. It was quite sad but empowering to see how far I’ve come in trying to mend that. I had always envisaged Chris from Dashboard singing on the record, and so for this to become a reality is a serendipitous ending of that chapter in my life.”
We end on ‘Papier-Mache’ and it’s a simple song with piano chords and simple embellishments. The layered vocals add further depth to the song, and it may just give ‘Race Car Blues’ a good run for it’s money as one of their best album closers.
Daisy Chain cements Slowly Slowly as one of Australia’s great indie rock bands. There’s just no doubt about it. I think they understand their strengths very well and play within those, and also play right on the edge and experiment. It seems that in every album they give us a little taste of something different, and just it keeps you hungering for more.
Slowly Slowly – Daisy Chain tracklisting:
1. Daisy Chain
3. Turn It Around
4. Forget You
5. Nothing On
6. Achilles’ Heel
7. Hold My Breath
11. Moving Trains Feat. Dashboard Confessional