Slow And Steady

In Time We Belong

Written by: TL on 01/09/2015 17:01:34

"In Time We Belong" is the debut full-length album from the currently Texas-based songwriter Jacob Lawter, who operates behind the moniker Slow And Steady. The album showcases the efforts of a guy whose music sounds like something in between All Get Out, Manchester Orchestra, Mansions and Into It. Over It, with particularly the former's singer Nathan Hussey coming to mind as soon as you hear Lawter sing in his soft, half-resigned style. Yet "In Time We Belong" is not as riff-driven a record as what you might be used to from most of the mentioned artists, as Lawter has instead created a very mellow and melancholy sort of songwriter's emo rock.

Emo is a word that lends itself well to describing the record, however, as the mood is consistently downbeat regardless of the tempo, and downbeat in that particularly quiet way that does not so much cry its author's frustrations out with loads of pathos, rather it wallows in feelings of everyday restlessness and bitterness. It has a certain draw to it, primarily because Lawter's Hussey-ish singing works well with the style, and his clear diction allows you to pick up on several lines of lyrics already on first listen. Yet across the length of the album's ten tracks it also does grow a bit stale, mainly because the musical side is kept a bit too simple and monotonous at the core, to really keep the similar moods interesting.

The album gets started on a decent foot though, as "Watching Life Go By" teases the ear with an almost orchestral ambiance that leads into the main guitar signature, which eventually brings the listener to some of the catchiest singing on the record going "I don't want to die, watching my life go by". The increase in instrumentation from verse one to two also helps the song feel more dynamic. Things settle down for a few tracks after, though, to a more downplayed guitar rock where the lyrical side is relied on a little too much to fully carry the day. "Out Of Touch" resummons some interest, particularly with the surprisingly heavy ending, while the touches of keyboard and vocal dubbing are welcome nuances on the brief "Disinterested", and "I've Never Left You" has the most immediately memorable lyrics of the album, along with another strong ending bit.

One frustrating thing about the album, though, is that the various small nuances that Lawter occasionally experiments with are not pursued to a point where they feel more than ornamental. The heavy bits in "Out Of Touch" and "I've Never Left You" have no roles in the songs other than as cathartic plot twists by the ends, and similarly, the album closer "Lost At Sea" introduces a post-rock-ish orchestral element towards the very end, yet simply leaves it way too soon as a bit of a doodle to mark the record's ending. Details like these, along with a predictably pleasant and soulful vocal feature from Bandit's Angela Plake, help make the record seem a little less homogenous than it is, yet this only makes it feel more like a shame that they don't figure as more integral parts of the songwriting. As hinted earlier, Lawter has a good singing style for lyrical storytelling, but Slow And Steady's instrumental side could need more inventive sounds, riffs and melodies to measure up past an "OK" mark.

Download: Watching Life Go By, Pendulum, I've Never Left You
For The Fans Of: All Get Out, Manchester Orchestra, Mansions, Into It. Over It

Release date 14.08.2015
Broken Circles

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