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Slow Pulp – Moveys – Limited Edition, Neon Green, Colored Vinyl, LP, Winspear, 2020

Neon Green Vinyl. Slow Pulp’s remarkable full-length debut Moveys is a testament to hard-fought personal growth. In the process of making their new record, the Chicago-based indie rock band powered through health challenges, personal upheaval, and a pandemic, all while breaking old habits and learning how to be better songwriters and friends. Full of blistering energy and emotional catharsis, this compelling 10-track collection highlights the band’s resourcefulness and resilience to come together even when they were states away.
Slow Pulp’s tough adaptability is something that has formed over time thanks to the unbreakable bond of lifelong friendship. Slow Pulp’s roots can be traced back to elementary school, with Alexander Leeds (bass), Theodore Mathews (drums), and Henry Stoehr (guitar) performing in bands together since the sixth grade while growing up in Madison, Wisconsin. Emily Massey (vocals/guitar) was later invited to join their new project, Slow Pulp, in 2017. Moveys marks a turning point for Slow Pulp, not just as musicians, but as friends and bandmates. It is a marked departure from the ramshackle coziness of their earlier output, with a more thoughtful sound that allows Massey to soar. For example, lead single “Idaho,” written on the road during tour-induced disorientation that led Stoehr to confuse their gig at Colorado College for a show in an entirely different state, bursts to life thanks to Stoehr’s shimmering guitar theatrics and Massey’s powerful and yearning vocal delivery. Here, she sings powerfully of the mental health hurdles that come with accepting love, “I’ll keep on holding out for the downside / Before I knew why.” Other songs like the shoegaze-y “Channel 2” feature Leeds on lead vocals whereas the understated and delicate highlight “Falling Apart” boasts Alex G collaborator Molly Germer on violin. So much of the album broadcasts their adventurousness, from the funky and cheeky samples on the title track to the gorgeous acoustic strums on opener “New Horse.” The driving, two-minute ripper, “At It Again”, was written and recorded in self-isolation as the last song to make the record. Massey explains her mindset behind the track: “I was starting to feel like I was getting back to a place where I could be healthy both physically and mentally. Then when everything happened, it was like, ‘sike!'” The word “moveys” is multi-faceted for Slow Pulp. It’s a made-up word, and a title of the album’s bonus track. It is an invitation to dance. It is a wink at the cross-country nature of the album’s songwriting process, while the bandmates were literally on the move touring, sheltering in place, and going through major life changes. But, mostly, it’s an inside joke. Listening to these warm, dynamic and welcoming songs, it’s easy to feel like you’re a part of it too.