I secretly think that I would be friends with all the bands I love. It’s a stubborn little belief which has survived endless disappointing revelations from the people I know who actually meet musicians (turns out that Judah Bauer is – goodness – sort of a bastard and not a superfun blues-exploding hipslinging rock god all the time). Music is more to me than anything else. When people seem nonplussed by museums, novels, movies, art, fashion – then I feel a bit of pity and confusion over what goes on inside them, but am ultimately able to put these things down as interests which people may or may not share with me. I don’t care very deeply about sport. I’m ambivalent on cats. It’s the same thing, I suppose.
But people who don’t really like music depress me. People who say they like “a bit of anything” or “all sorts of things really”. I don’t hate them, I just know that there’s an insurmountable gap of understanding between me and them and I will never never understand their depleted lives. I love music. I listen to music all the time – instrumental stuff when I’m working, pop songs when I’m walking around, punk and electro when I go running, folk and country in the kitchen. There is no finer way of conveying one human’s feelings to another than the combination of sharp lyric and plaintive tune, unless it’s a plaintive tune played out over and over again with pulsing intensity to a soul-bruising climax. Yes, yes, I’ve read Doestovesky and Eliot and seen Bacons and Goyas and gasped and cried and I still don’t care – nothing feels as much like feeling as listening to a pop song.
So it would be nice to think that the people who make music, the people who have this strange and ferocious hold over my interior life and can make me experience “love” and “wanting” and “fury” and “dance” are basically nice people who would want to hang out with me and agree with me on all my favourite opinions. And it’s even nicer when people you already like make music you love. Slow Down Tallahassee contains three people I know and know to be lovely, and make achingly pretty songs with sweet, stinging vocals discoursing on all the important things: righteously dirty sex (“Kiss Me Again”), fierce friendship (“Never Be Lonely Again”), bitter bitter revenge (“When you beg him to stop may the devil only fuck you faster” they sing, sweetly, prettily, on “A Little Hex For You”). Lyrics like, “limbs that float like tiny ships, a handful of buried teeth” (“Limbs”) open a world of tenderness and violence, mysterious phrases which touch the exact point of your heart they are meant to.
The band are from Sheffield, and while they don’t caress the city’s streets and landmarks with quite the specificity of Pulp or the Arctics or Richard Hawley, they still give good provincial glamour to the alleyways and beautiful prostitutes. It’s like listening to Suede when Suede were sexy and new and before all the lyrics about dogs and petrol fell down to cliche (SDT even have a line about gasoline on “Tallahassee Bop”). Bouncy keyboards and trilling two-part harmonies flirt with tweeness but take weight from swathes of MBV-ish noise, especially on the sighing standout, “Electric Sun”. You can buy the album from the ever-splendid SPC and download the single for free if you want a taster. I recommend their lovely, bloody world to you.