Powerfully blending melody and discord and inspired by pictures of the Paris events in May 1968, Canada’s Slow Down Molasses reflect the tension between ideals and reality, then and now.
On the cover, an extinguished pyre of autos and scenes of individual and collective protest evoke the tumult of Paris in 1968. Inside, a collection of songs that don’t appear to have an explicitly political message (apart perhaps from the surging drone of “Don’t Forget the Youth”). Yet in a way the music of Slow Down Molasses, a mix of dynamic, discordant guitars, limpid keyboards and decisive drumming, conveys the confusion of idealism, frustration and violence of many protest movements.
The title track, for example, moves from a slowly pounding beat and a vocal of Thom Yorke fragility into a fast, abrasive rocker that recalls Sonic Youth’s “Teenage Riot”, while the beautiful lilt of “Stay Still” floats over truculent fuzz bass.
“Underneath the cobblestones, the beach” was one of the poetic Parisian slogans. Used here for the title of the concluding instrumental, its intensely melodic guitarwork sings of the potential that, still, lives beneath the surface of things.