LIVE REVIEW: Slow Decades, Marc Bird @ The Central Bar, Gateshead (09.09.22) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Slow Decades

Formerly of Yellow Creatures, Lunar Bells and Video Spring, now Hebden Bridge-based Marc Bird’s return to the North East heralds his long overdue live debut as a solo artist. 2020’s Bronze may have been an under-the-radar lockdown-era gem, yet this four-piece line-up does much to reframe its finer moments, trading dreamy electronic pulse for a violin and bass-led aesthetic bearing closer resemblance to vintage chamber-pop. This shift nevertheless manifests beautifully in moments such as the gently drifting Deep End, while jauntier additions Mother, Mother and Moon Puddles offer an enticing preview of follow-up EP Parting, due in November.

On an evening where most other fun has been patriotically cancelled, the lesser-spotted Slow Decades ensure we’ve a double-bill of low-key guitar pop excellence. They too emerge recalibrated, with illness having slimmed their number to a mere trio, and it’s testament to Ben Lowes-Smith’s melodic and lyrical touch these songs – most of which were written as a five-piece – still shine so vividly. In many cases, absence seems to have made the heart grow fonder. As Ben wryly notes, five different Prime Ministers have stepped through Downing Street’s doors since some were penned, yet such familiarity only breeds further warmth for The Chaos’ lush, swooning melodicism and fuzzy power-pop closer Brown Boxes. Here’s hoping both acts return as regular fixtures in the not-too-distant future.

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