Slowly Slowly’s Race Car Blues is the band’s third-length album offering, and it can be said that this is the best record they’ve released to date. With strong influences of punk and alternative rock all wrapped up into a neat 12-song package, the band doesn’t shy away from their emotions with tug-on-your-heartstrings lyrics and compelling instrumentation. It punches deep with nostalgia and becomes a love letter to those that have lost themselves for a moment, taking the time to reflect on life’s past memories.
Whether you’re a teenager travelling the confusion of life, or someone in your mid-20s doing your best to make sense of it all, Race Car Blues is a cathartic body of work that reminds you that you’re not alone in this journey; the journey where you go through the stages of heartbreak, grief, loss and disconnect from your own identity. Perhaps Race Car Blues was made to reveal something we all lost in ourselves as we grow up – how we become so ingrained in the mundanities of life and that the routine of it all makes us wonder how fleeting one’s youth can be.
The first track, “Creature of Habit” is a strong number. It’s one of the upbeat songs of the catalogue, offering a nice prologue to the band’s other track, “Creature of Habit Pt. 2” being slightly more slow-paced but doesn’t reveal too much about the actual tone of the record. In this case, you’ll find that the more you listen to Race Car Blues, you’ll find that it’s honest, emotional and captivating in what it has to say.
“19” is reminiscent of the early 2000s phase of alternative rock and unveils some emotive backstory behind the age of being 19 – the last year of our teens but also the stage where we haven’t reached our 20s yet. Ben Stewart’s vocals leads the song so strongly, capturing a time where he was 19 and feeling like he had the world on his two feet but also being an emotional mess at the same time; wondering how anybody could handle somebody so fragile at this age where you’re no longer a child or adult but someone that’s in-between.
“Suicidal Evangelist” is emotional and raw. It’s a song that unleashes old wounds and how a sense of darkness can be all-too-consuming, getting the best of us at times and wondering if we will ever get saved from this feeling. Listening to Stewart’s voice, you feel like you could cry because you know you’ve been there before.
Ending the record on a Jimmy Eat World-esque note, the title track, “Race Car Blues” makes a strong finale, tying together the puzzle pieces of the other tracks; its stunning because of its melancholic undertones. The slow build provides an inviting presence to the listener and the emotions that come with this track does give you an adrenaline rush.
The song itself is about losing yourself along the way and having a sense of yearning about who you were in the past. The heavy breathing towards the end of the track puts you in a place of introspection and you begin to think about life in a different light. “Race Car Blues” makes you miss simpler times, putting that great emphasis that we’ve all had symptoms of Peter Pan Syndrome at least once in our lives.
Race Car Blues is an album filled with stories of our youth and provides a feeling of nostalgia that only Slowly Slowly can unveil. It’s introspective in its lyricism and doesn’t shy away from being blunt when it comes to our true emotions. Slowly Slowly have poured their heart and soul into this record. From its storytelling to its instrumentation, these songs are someone’s saving grace from themselves.
Race Car Blues out now through UNFD