The second Slowly Rolling Camera disc builds upon the first in more ways than one. For a start it pushes singer/lyricist Dionne Bennett rightly to the forefront – hers is the picture on the cover; the rest of the core quartet of keyboardist/co-composer Dave Stapleton, sound designer Deri Roberts and drummer Elliot Bennett don’t appear other than in credits – and then it gives this forceful singer a greatly expanded soundscape to work within.
The trio of instrumentalists can make a pretty big noise on their own, but it’s expanded even more by additional musicians including guitarist Stuart McCallum, bassist Aidan Thorne and saxophonist Ben Waghorn plus horn and string sections in parts. I assume Roberts and Stapleton are the keys to the overall sound which is widescreen, epic, intergalactic and any other label you can thing of which stresses BIG. Bennett’s vocals are often harmonised and treated to echo effects which increase their stature even more.
The lyrical content is similarly dramatic and often angry – “Leave me alone,” repeated in Oblivion which concludes “No one fucking cares”; “Remember you left me,” stressed in Delusive. Bennett is not always cross – the exquisite, string-drenched Unsetting Sun shows the soulful subtlety of her singing to fine effect.
It all goes to fit the current urban British zeitgeist I guess – or a strong element in it, at least – while also having a touch of retro-’80s underground sound. It’s a very powerful album, impeccably produced, from a very strong band which should surely be getting a lot more attention from the pop media. I’m surprised Jools hasn’t invited the band onto Later… They’d shake that studio!
- All Things has a worldwide release date of 4 November.
Categories: CD review