JAWS is hard music to concentrate on. Any momentary distraction and the music dissipates into the background; it’s just rather unmemorable. Most songs on Be Slowly could be constructed by putting two British indie rock bands in a room together and asking them to make their style more beach appropriate, and less offensive. Most of the lyrics could have been written by a fourteen year old on Tumblr. Okay, so… what’s the problem? A lot of music is like this. Being a really average band doesn’t mean the music isn’t likeable. It feels somewhat redundant to even address this fact in the first place, especially considering how we consume and qualify indie music in the internet age – by lumping groups of artists into sub genres that describe the ‘aesthetic’ or ‘feel’ or ‘mood’ of that group of artists, and then deriving enjoyment from that aesthetic whole, instead of the individual compositions by recognizable songwriters. It’s as if ever since the Arctic Monkeys were consumed by their own cloud of hot air a void was left over in Britain that was immediately filled by a bunch of groups of university mates with similar tastes, a little charisma, but not a creative bone in their pallid, lanky bodies. Whatever. At least Be Slowly isn’t as obnoxiously trite as Tame Impala.
Songs “Gold,” “Think Too Much, Feel Too Little,” “Filth,” and “NYE” are all great. My one issue with the LP is this: nothing hits hard enough. The guitar tones are beautifully engineered, every instance of delay is perfectly quantised, the bridges and verses are well-structured… the only thing missing is the element of surprise. There are no climaxes, no moments of tension, no discernible dynamics, nothing that proves the band pushed themselves out of their comfort zone. Any pretty piece of musicianship on the album is just a trope of motif. To me, that just makes JAWS your average, sophomoric uni mates: comfortable in mediocrity. To use Genuine American Slang, JAWS are basic. Be Slowly is basic. “NYE” is still a great song though.