Slowly: Unfold (Independent, 2016)
Slowly is the project of Toronto native Charles Berger (Soft Wounds). Recorded in his basement, the songs of Unfold are not complete but may never be. This is because Berger intends to release a single track periodically for the project over an undisclosed period of time. So far, four tracks have been released, one per month, since July 2016. I have decided to write up the project at this point to bring it to the attention of our readers so they can follow it as it unfolds in the following months.
“Melt” begins with slow dreamy guitar and moved into a slow paced groove. The guitar work is akin to Slowdive’s and sparkles amid the drums and bass. There is a decidedly 80’s feel to the vocals, with Berger channeling a bit of that post-punk vibe. Berger even harmonizes with himself at one point in the track. “Same Lines” is classic shoegaze giving that feel of early Highspire and the fuzzy end of bands like Jesus and the Mary Chain. Berger’s multi-instrumental work is impressive and his song arrangements beautiful. Someone needs to get him out of the basement and into a proper studio with this material.
By the time one gets to “Sundown”, it’s clear that Berger is establishing a very specific style in his work. None of these tracks rush nor are they more than anything one would describe as a medium tempo. His project name, Slowly, is not only a title but an appropriate description for his compositions. “Nudge” is the newest track and has a faster clip to it. The guitars also have a deeper tone with more fuzz in the bass and guitars. This track feels most like Thedaysleepers than the previous. I mean this as a huge compliment. Berger’s songwriting and arrangements seems to improve with each track. This may be both the strength and weakness of the project in general. As Berger progresses through tracks, the listener can hear his work improve, his recording technique get better, and his choices become more pointed. I actually like this unique approach because it gives the listener access to what is usually hidden by bands in recording and selecting songs. Perhaps we will eventually get a proper album out of the multi tracks he produces.
Slowly is definitely worth your time if you are a shoegaze fan. The four tracks currently available are free to stream and download. If Berger keeps up the current schedule, he should have two more tracks up by the end of 2016. I eagerly await more material and hope that, at some point, a label like Saint Marie Records or Clairecords pics Slowly up.
Download Slowly tracks here.
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