If up and coming Australian band Friendly Fires had younger brothers, they would be the four young Central Coasters who make up Slow Down Honey. In their new EP, In The Red, they take the irresistibly danceable summer vibe of Friendly Fires’ recent LP Pala, and strip it of the synth and electro embellishments, to create something that is the essence of those ever-blended genres, rock and pop.
For a humble EP, In The Red is impressively tight. Having reportedly played together since the teen years and earlier in pubs and parties round their hometown Umina, NSW, the four members have used their experience well. The drums are punchy, the chords are striking and the vocals are controlled, almost staccato in places. This is the kind of band who would do well as an opening act at some big, national music festival (they have previously performed at Good Vibrations, among other events) – their foot-tapping tunes would surely translate into a screaming crowd of ecstatic boppers.
The EP’s single is its first track, ‘One I Know’, though another one to watch out for is the next one along, ‘Tell Me What You Want’, which features perhaps even more infectious hooks. Both songs – as well as the other three coming after – are pure Naughties anthems.
Apart from Friendly Fires mentioned above, there’s also a bit more than a hint of other pop-punkers here: see Razorlight (who Slow Down Honey recently supported) and The Strokes. Indeed, Slow Down Honey is the archetypal the four-man, guitar-bass-drums combo; it’s really no wonder they cite The Beatles as one of their major influences.
However, the band does not make it into the ranks of the others. Unlike the songs of Razorlight, for example, there is nothing in In The Red that displays much variation. This leaves for a bit of a flat record. Yes, the songs are exciting, catchy what-have-you, but there is never any let up from this. While the slower ballad may not be for every band – nor should it be – it is certainly not necessary to include such a track in order to ensure some variety in an album. Even within an otherwise upbeat song it is possible to have times where the drum-beat lets up just a little…
– Serrin Prior