Slow Readers Club just don’t seem to stop do they? Following their Top 10 record, Joy of the Return, at the start of the year, I wasn’t expecting anything from them for a while. But, that was before the world kinda went to shit.
The pandemic has been hard on everyone. The cacophony of emotions we’ve all had to navigate has been stressful at the best of times. Yet, the way in which 91 Days in Isolation not only encapsulates this struggle, but embodies the atmosphere of a nation, is truly remarkable. From its tender introspection to its simmering rage, its celebratory highs to its anxious foundations. The record is a triumph, truly a product of its time, and the best SRC have released since their breakthrough Cavalcade.
The immediacy of opening track ‘Barricades’ may come as a surprise to seasoned fans, but it’s pulsating rhythm offers mirrored chaos to Aaron’s Starkie’s contemplations on the state of the world, undoubtedly carving the avenues for the later experimentation on the record. Subsequent track ‘Everything I Own’ is a plaintive ode to love lost. Sonically explorative in its middle eastern embellishments, yet uneasy in the emptiness brought by a lack of a massive trademark chorus. It means the track breaths out a ruminating air, one that will resonate with all those who have lost someone recently.
Other than this, lead single ‘Yet Again’ is a hypnotic spiral, reminiscent of the repetition of lockdown. Its refrain of “Yet again (x5), no you never move a muscle, are you ever gonna listen, listen,” will be all too accurate for some. Another spotlight on the album is ‘Two Minutes Hate’, a song based upon the two minute release of rage citizens are allowed in George Orwell’s 1984. It relates to our self constructed echo chambers on social media, and how certain people thrive off sewing division and hatred, enticing others to defend their views and, in turn, become part of the problem.
To pen any album this good is an achievement, but to do so remotely, and to piece it together through a computer screen is mesmeric. 91 Days in Isolation is a new direction, but one that’s intrinsically linked to the state of the world, and one that exemplifies the talent of Manchester’s cult heroes.
Image: SRC Records