One of my highlights of 2014 was the discovery of the group Slowly Rolling Camera, originally hailing from Cardiff and relatively recently-formed, a group that really sparked my interest because their sound is so diverse. You might think that would be a turn-off, but really it appealed on so many more levels. Similar to the likes of Submotion Orchestra and Bonobo, but with more of a soul feel, this band of musicians are ones to take note of.
Their EP, Into the Shadow, released last year is further testament to why these should be taken as one of the most exciting, young British bands for a while. Opening track River’s End is a blustery start to the record, emphasising the musical talent present here, but also providing an early platform for the clear importance of the vocals of lead singer Dionne Bennett. She is an undeniable talent, whose voice gives the song the toughness it deserves; gutsy and at almost ten minutes long, this track is a strong opening statement from the trio (yes, that’s right – only three of them).
I can’t speak for everybody, but I always have a feeling of expectation for the title track of any record – it’s the most prominent by name, therefore it has to have something special about it. Fortunately that expectation is met with the title track of this EP, a calming and enjoyably melancholy track that is slow enough to feel emotive, but not so slow so as to be dull. There’s a feeling of an oncoming climax in the song, as though they’re building toward something bigger. Something that doesn’t come, but instead the song gives way to an instrumental break that again demonstrates the potency of this group’s talent – anyone who has the opportunity to see these live should do so without hesitation.
Why I sing the praises of this band so highly is attributed to their ability, in my mind and for my part, to capture that arresting quality in their music. This wouldn’t pass you by on the radio, this is the stuff that will make you ask “who’s this by?” Minimalistic and simultaneously powerful is the third track, Anne. A sombre song which provides Ms Bennett the opportunity she so readily accepts to ensnare us.
Finally is Riga, a track which showcases the group’s more dramatic flair (see Fragile Ground), the aspect of their sound I enjoy the most. It’s wild, unrestrained and instinctive. The song unexpectedly takes a decidedly weirder turn, but it works and adds to the overall weight of the track; you can’t stand still listening to it. Certainly acting as a closing crescendo to this 4-track record, this song goes in further unexpected directions while maintaining your attention.
Slowly Rolling Camera are a band that restores my faith in our native, local music scenes to no end because while groups that are so weird, so original and so distinctive are still coming forward to make their mark then it’s clear something’s still going right. Check this group out, they will at the very least confuse you and I promise that’s a good thing.