“STILL LIFE”: The Slow Show Create ‘Moments of Feeling’ in Beautifully Radiant & Resonant 4th Album

The Slow Show © 2022
The Slow Show © 2022
The Slow Show’s Rob Goodwin dives into the stirring depths of the band’s breathtaking new album ‘STILL LIFE’, a beautifully radiant, resonant, and cinematic soundtrack to reflection and intimate inner reckoning born out of solitude and isolation.
Stream: “Blinking” – The Slow Show




The album is called ‘STILL LIFE’. It was written and recorded remotely, during the pandemic. We didn’t want to dwell on the situation, but it inevitably influenced this record.

They don’t want to call it a “pandemic record,” so we’re not going to do that – though in all fairness, The Slow Show’s music has always been a product of deep introspection and intense emotional turmoil and upheaval, perfect for moments of space and isolation. (If you didn’t play White Water or Lust and Learn at least once in 2020, you surely missed out.) It just so happens that their new LP sees these qualities not only brought front and center, but also enhanced and on overdrive. Born in times of solitude and disconnect, STILL LIFE is a beautifully radiant, resonant, and cinematic soundtrack to reflection and self-expression, personal growth and intimate inner reckoning. The Slow Show dwell in the depths of isolation, shining a light into the darkness and ultimately finding refreshing reasons not just to live, but to celebrate our lives.

STILL LIFE - The Slow Show
STILL LIFE – The Slow Show
Tired all the time
Think I’ll stay inside
Back hurts, waiting
For a break in the weather
It comes sometimes
Something inside my mind’s
Heavy, weather
Is anybody else in?…
Tired all the time
(Is anybody else in?)
Hoping it’ll pass by
(Is anybody else in?)
Holding out, for a small high
(Is anybody else in?)
Is anybody elsе inside?
(Is anybody else in?)
– “Anybody Else Inside,” The Slow Show

Released February 4, 2022 via Velveteen Records, STILL LIFE is, like its predecessor (2019’s Lust and Learn), an absolutely breathtaking musical journey – one made all the more special by the circumstances surrounding it. “It was a difficult record to make mainly due to the logistics,” frontman Rob Goodwin says of the band’s latest effort. “We all live in different cities and countries. Travel bans and lockdowns have meant almost two years without seeing each other, so to be finally releasing the album feels wonderful.”

Together for over a decade, The Slow Show hails originally from Manchester, though its members are now scattered throughout Europe. Consisting of Rob Goodwin, Frederick’t Kindt, Joel Byrne-McCullough, and Chris Hough, the band have made a name for themselves through cinematic soundscapes full of atmospheric warmth and wonder. Their 2015 debut album White Water set a high bar: “Its volatility reflects the rawest aspects of the human experience,” Atwood Magazine wrote at the time, going on to describe how Goodwin’s “deep voice echoes throughout the ethereal, colorfully layered compositions” and how “minimalism meets opulence, and the two melt together in an organic fusion. Darkness and light gracefully collide like long-lost lovers.”

2016’s sophomore album Dream Darling seemed to continue where White Water left off, with songs like the epic lead single “Ordinary Lives” swelling with haunting force. Three years later, Lust and Learn found the band delivering their most ambitious and elegant work of art yet, immersing listeners in an emotional pastiche full of warmth, pain, and everything in-between. Whereas The Slow Show’s previous two records were starkly personal and captured the struggles and strains of its band mates, Lust and Learn is “our attempt at capturing moments of feeling,” Goodwin shared at the time.

The Slow Show Dive into the Breathtaking Depths of ‘Lust and Learn’

:: INTERVIEW ::



The Slow Show © 2022
The Slow Show © 2022



With this record we were interested in creating feelings of euphoria and resolve.

Intentionally or not, STILL LIFE builds upon the lessons gleaned from Lust and Learn, putting them to the test as The Slow Show unearth common strains in their individual, divergent, and isolated pandemic experiences.

Whereas the last record’s distance was intentional, this one’s is unavoidable and intrinsic to where and when it was made. Perhaps as a result of that, STILL LIFE is anything but: The album’s songs swoop and soar through elegant hoops of warm melody and rich troves of brilliant harmony, building up and down from whispers to shouts, and back to down whispers once more. As they always do, The Slow Show turn ordinary pain into extraordinary beauty: If we imagine a black-and-white inert canvas, STILL LIFE is the technicolor pallet brimming with cool blues and violets, hot reds and oranges – all of which spill out in eleven sweetly cathartic and moving songs.

“Our goal has always been to create moments of feeling,” Goodwin tells Atwood Magazine. “To move people. With this record we were interested in creating feelings of euphoria and resolve. Rhythmically the record has a different feel from our previous albums. There’s a mix of synthetic and acoustic percussion that we hope give the record a strong pulse and shape. We‘ve always been excited about mixing genres. I think each record is probably a product of the time it was written, our personal lives, the things we’re observing at the time. This record will probably always be unique because of the environment it was written in.”

Patience slipping, slipping like love
I can’t help wishing, wishing it’s not
I told you I’d come to your city and I’ve left a lot
You know I’d stay if I could stand it but I’ve had enough
This is all I’ve got
But this heart, this heart, this heart’s not big enough
This is all I’ve got
But this heart, this heart, this heart’s not big enough
You know I’d stay if I could
But I miss the sun
You know it well it’s in my blood but it’s no good
My Mum’s not getting any younger now you know, brother’s not well
Guess it’s time to go
But it hurts like hell
I’ll miss you miss you so
I’ll take my books but I’ll miss your looks
I know them well
– “Slippin’,” The Slow Show
The Slow Show © 2022
The Slow Show © 2022



The title STILL LIFE was inspired by a story Goodwin’s mother told him during the pandemic.

“My parents’ neighbours had bought their son Freddie a butterfly life cycle set to keep him busy whilst the schools were closed,” he explains. “Freddie proudly invited my parents to watch him release his ‘home grown’ butterfly into the world but was disappointed to see that his butterfly wouldn’t leave home. I wrote down ‘Still Life‘ immediately after hearing the story of Freddie letting his butterfly go. It’s been such an unprecedented couple of years: We didn’t want to dwell on the situation, but it inevitably influenced this record.”

Highlights abound from start to finish on an album that truly feels like a marathon, rather than a sprint: Opener and lead single “Mountbatten” sets the tone as a song of grief and healing in three movements: It rises from soft, gentle depths, swelling with passionate feeling and driving beats to eventually become a seductive, sweeping musical overhaul. It’s a five minute epic in its own right, and the perfect hook, line, and sinker for all to enter the world of STILL LIFE.

It’s also a personal favorite for Goodwin and his band mates.

“It was the first song we wrote for the record,” the frontman recalls. “We wanted to create a movement in its entirety, from one place of feeling to another. We wanted to create three distinct movements to reflect the songs’ main theme of grief and healing. For this reason, I think this is one of our most ambitious songs.”

Goodwin also cites the song’s lyrics as his own personal favorites off the album:

There’s a bird in a field I watch with Mum
I‘m sorry you feel awful son
We ran around in circles once for fun
Blame her
John’s gone
Remember when we used to run?
I heard about the Munich boy
Note to dad
I’m sorry life can hurt so bad
There’s a bird in a field I watch with Mum
We’ll miss him when he’s gone
– “Mountbatten,” The Slow Show




The Slow Show © 2022
The Slow Show © 2022

From this entrance, The Slow Show dive ever deeper into what it means to feel isolated, alone, and enveloped in solitude.

The gutting “Anybody Else Inside” is a poignant and bittersweet “collaboration” with folks on social media, who contributed their “thoughts and feelings on the theme of isolation” – much of which the band used as fuel, cherrypicking provocative lines and affecting stories that so vividly express isolation’s deeply individual, yet universal experience. Repeating the same words with increasingly visceral emotion has long been a part of Rob Goodwin’s skill set as the band’s deep-voiced singer; here (and throughout STILL LIFE), he showcases just how much the little things can add up, singing, “Is anybody else in(side)” over and over, all to profound effect.

Further in still, the soothing “Slippin'” is a tender and tranquil dream of a song charting one’s breakup with their home city. The subdued “Woven Blue” is a kind of expansive, smoldering ballad exploring meaningful relationships through optimistic hues. “Breathe” is a vast ode to breath itself, channeling the spirit and passion of the Black Lives Matter movement that was reinvigorated following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020. Layered in various electronic and acoustic instruments, it is one of The Slow Show’s most expressive songs ever released:

We’ve always been important
We’ve always meant something
We’ve always succeeded
And it was briefly gorgeous for a while
It was Autumn it was almost blue
It was running for a life like oil on a canvas
It was briefly gorgeous
I can’t breathe can’t you see that he’s leaning on me
So breathe for me
I can’t breathe can’t you see that he’s leaning on me
 So breathe for me
The Slow Show © 2022
The Slow Show © 2022

Further memorable moments include the groovy, dramatic “Blinking,” the achingly atmospheric “Hey Lover,” and the truly singular finale “Weightless” – a nearly seven-minute transformative “palate cleanser” (as Goodwin puts it) that sees the album’s sense of isolation met with undeniably cathartic resolution – an ultimate release of tension into a “weightless,” warm silence. Goodwin’s poetry stirs a cord inside as well as the lyrics convey a similar state of movement and growth away from stillness:

I think of you more than I should
And return with heavy legs and runner’s blue
But sometimes were kind and love was good
We ran as far as we could and realised it wouldn’t make any difference
But now and then when I think of love
I regret the feeling of rejection,
And the bitterness of losing connection
As with time it has occurred to me, we were innocent
As innocent as wild youth can be –
Look at trees with me
Still our vulnerability was nothing new
You were heavy when I lifted you
But I carried you as far as I could
Still I think of you more than I should
Go and break your heart, It’ll help you feel
Go and break your heart, If it helps you…


The Slow Show © 2022
The Slow Show © 2022

“I hope that people feel something, that they finish the record feeling differently to when they started,” Goodwin shares. “Music has always been our way of making sense of the world. With every record I feel like I learn something new about myself.”

We don’t want to call STILL LIFE a pandemic record, because it applies to so much more than just the pandemic. Rather, STILL LIFE is a record of isolation and solitude; of the emotional journey we embark on when we’re alone with our thoughts. It’s a record of self-discovery and maturity; of healing, growth, and moving on. These emotions defined so many of our pandemic experiences, but they also existed before and will continue to exist long after the COVID-19 pandemic has faded from memory’s view. Similarly, this album and its special, stunning music will also be here for us whenever we need it, for years to come.

Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside The Slow Show’s STILL LIFE with Atwood Magazine as Rob Goodwin goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of the band’s fourth album!

— —

:: stream/purchase STILL LIFE here ::
Stream: ‘STILL LIFE’ – The Slow Show



:: Inside STILL LIFE ::

STILL LIFE - The Slow Show

— —

Mountbatten

An unconventional song of three movements reflecting the songs’ central theme of grief and healing. Combining classical arrangements with electronic loops, sung and spoken words, we wanted to create movement. With Mountbatten we aimed to create a movement in its entirety, from one place of feeling to another. For this reason, I think this is one of our most ambitious songs. Lyrically inspired by river walks with my Mum and chance encounters with a ‘bird in a field’, the song describes loyal friendship, a parent’s tragic loss of a beloved son and the unspoken understanding between a mother and son.
Musically we wanted to create three distinct movements to reflect the songs’ main theme of grief and healing. The classical piano introduction soon becomes a field of open chords which then transform into something closer to joy and resolve. With these movements We wanted to represent the various layers of grief and to find light and colour in the healing process.

Anybody Else Inside

We asked the people that care about our music on social media if they would like to collaborate with us on this song, sharing thoughts and feelings on the theme of isolation. The response was overwhelming and many of the shared stories, poems, photos and videos inspired / contributed to the final version. Collaborating on a theme of isolation was a wonderful tonic, we’re very grateful to all of the people who shared their feelings and thoughts so generously and we hope that in doing so we created a brief moment of togetherness.

Slippin’

Musically dreamy and introspective and lyrically documenting the bittersweet realisation that it’s time to leave a city and old life behind.

Rare Bird

This song started with a vocal sample that Fred had been working with. He combined the synthetic vocal sample with a classical piano loop that became the inspiration and backbone of the song. I found the music and chord progressions haunting when I first heard the initial idea. The lyrics mirror this mood.

Woven Blue

The lyrics deal with the aftermath of uncoupling. The idea that meaningful relationships are very often woven and complex, making resolve difficult. Musically the song is light and optimistic, we wanted the music to reflect the blamelessness that often exits when relationships run their course.

Blue Nights

Lyrically inspired by much of Joan Didion’s wonderful work.

Breathe

“Breathe” was a difficult song. It is full of feeling and it touches on difficult topics, so we spent a long time thinking about the best way to approach the song. We were reluctant to write about many of the things we saw in 2020 but it was inevitable that some of the years despair would influence us lyrically. “Breathe” documents some the unjust and heart-breaking scenes of 2020 with spoken word reference to John Boyega’s emotional rallying cry in support of Black Lives Matter in London’s Hyde Park.

Blinking

A ode to love and loyalty. The song is a defiant pledge to never giving up on the people you love. Musically we wanted the song to have impact, a directness and powerful punch that we’d previously shied away from.

Hey Lover

We used a combination of synthetic and acoustic layers to create a dense soundscape. An electric guitar line forms a light central hook that the lyrics work around. We wanted to create an atmosphere, a space for instruments and lyrics to come and go.

Who Knows

A song about celebrating change. Excepting that life is uncertain, that ‘some days will be fine and others will be harder than you like’ seeing uncertainty positively and excepting that life is a series of moments that we should embrace.

Weightless

Inspired and written around a poem called ‘Transit’ that I had written years previously, ‘Weightless’ became a six and a half minute, last track, palate cleanser. The spoken words document a time of transition, acceptance and resolve. I was interested in how thoughts and feelings evolve over time, that no feeling is final. The music reflects this transition, ending with a meandering brass led improvisation that we hoped would create a sense of weightlessness and resolve.

— —

:: stream/purchase STILL LIFE here ::

— — — —

STILL LIFE - The Slow Show

Connect to The Slow Show on
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Discover new music on Atwood Magazine
📸 © 2022

:: Stream The Slow Show ::



More from Mitch Mosk

Loss, Closure, and Intimacy: Dwelling in Tia Gostelow’s “Hey Friends”

Breathtakingly dark, grungy, and vulnerable, Tia Gostelow's intimate "Hey Friends" captures the...
Read More