The queen of British garage music is back! Holly Golightly has a new solo album, taking a break from the Brokeoffs, and the recent country-tinged sound that came out of the backwoods. Instead “Slowtown Now” is a pop album, albeit retro tinged 60s pop. Think mini-skirts and go-go boots, but accessorised with guitars and reverb. Lots of reverb. So much reverb, that at times I felt it could saw my speakers in half.
And this means that despite some of the songs seeming incredibly upbeat, it doesn’t take long to imagine that this isn’t your happy-go-lucky pop album at all…
“Fool Fool Fool” opens with such a sleazy guitar lick, that when the faux girl-band harmonies kick in, they seem to be imploring some kind of horrible revenge. “Just take a look in the mirror, count up the tears, how many times has he left you behind through the years?”.
“As You Go Down” with its northern soul hand claps and bass line, is a sweet, up tempo revenge tail of a good-for-nothing boyfriend getting his just deserts. Maybe lyrics like “That knife in your back will be turning some more” are metaphors, but you’re never entirely sure. The sweet soul music delivery somehow adds to the unease.
The title track, “Slowtown” sounds like you were riding the bus to Lonesome Town, but fell asleep with a bottle of whisky, and ended up on the wrong side of the tracks, even further from redemption.
Those are my highlights, but there’s not much filler here. In particular, I love the production across this album. Ramshackle on the surface, the effect is such a warm sound, that I like to imagine the pops and crackles were placed with computer aided-precision to add that lo-fi feel. Album closer “When I wake” even attempts a lo-fi garage-rock “wall of sound” production, and pretty much gets there! It’s 12 short, fuzzy gems.