Album #307: The Slow Readers Club – 91 Days in Isolation

  • Released: 2020
  • Origin: Manchester, England
  • Label: SRC
  • Best Track: Two Minutes Hate

The strange thing about following music closely in 2020 is that because albums are usually written and recorded months in advance, music hasn’t quite caught up with the climate of COVID-19 and lockdown. One band I feel particularly sorry for is Anti-Flag, whose optimistic January album 20/20 Vision seemed dated by March. Still, at least Trump’s being sent packing, which you felt was the album’s main point.

You feel 2021 will be when the paranoia and bleakness of the COVID bubble starts to make its way into music, but there have been some examples already. The superb Hunger for a Way Out by Sweeping Promises is the best I can think of, and now The Slow Readers Club have had a go at it with their second album of this year, 91 Days in Isolation.

At eight tracks and 28 minutes, it’s probably more of a mini-album, and like most of what I’ve heard from this band, I find it OK, listenable. At it’s worst, this album is a bit grating – I had to start skipping ‘Yet Again’ after several listens – but overall it’s more good than bad.

There are two tracks I like much better than anything else on the record, basically. ‘The Greatest Escape’ is one of them for its post-punk riff, while better still is ‘Two Minutes Hate’. Encapsulating the agitation and frustrating at lockdown inertia (“And I start to crave chaos/Unleash this rage in us”) and with Aaron Starkie’s vocals reminiscent of Brett Anderson from Suede, this is as close as I’ve heard to a lockdown anthem.

That track would make a playlist of my best songs of the year, but the album is largely one I can take or leave. Still, let’s appreciate that it’s been conceived entirely within the last six to eight months, and it’s a decent stab at capturing the zeitgeist, especially given that it was pieced together from recordings each band member made individually.

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