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A review of Self Esteem’s beautiful new album Compliments Please

Self Esteem - COmpliments Please album cover

Author : Frankie Baldwin

Self Esteem
is the project by one part of Slow Club’s Rebecca Lucy Taylor. I was probably quite late to the Slow Club party. I only heard about them after my then-new housemate offered me a ticket in September 2016 at Abbeydale Picturehouse in Sheffield (from where Ms Taylor is a native). Keen to bond with my new friends I said yes. And, it remains a great decision, not just as a bonding exercise but I have been a big Slow Club fan ever since.

I’ve been following Rebecca Lucy Taylor on Instagram since that night. When she announced her solo project, which includes both music, art and photography I was both excited and intrigued. Along with this I was almost nervous as social media sites such as Instagram offer you a relationship with celebrities that owes a one-way intimacy and so I invested a real hope that her new solo endeavors would follow Slow Club’s popularity and success- as well as the obvious and selfish hope that I would be as equally enamored with the music.

Breaking away with Slow Club’s style

Following the first few singles released from Compliments Please it became clear that Rebecca was tearing away from Slow Club’s ‘folkier’ vibe and trying something entirely new. My immediate reaction was a childishly anxious one. Many people have this when their favourite artists take a new direction. Just look at the immediate reaction to pretty much every Arctic Monkeys album. But, following the release of the full album, as well as a growth in emotional maturity from myself, I pretty much fell in love with it.

If you look at the greatest artists, they hold their position in history due to the tearing up of the status quo that exists in the musical climate of the time in – and an injection of influences that may be considered alien. For me, Compliments Please is no different. The whole record is a beautifully varied concoction of different songs that are weirdly wonderful. Its approach to making music is different and oft forgot in the relentless flow of samey chart music. Most significant is the layering of voice and harmonies that. This is exhibited in the tracks Steady I Stand and Favourite Problem. This mixture is featured throughout and makes me want to sit down with her and quiz her on where the influences of this album came from.

With Rebecca being a very talented drummer (something that really excited me when I had the opportunity of seeing Slow Club live) it is no surprise that Compliments Please had strong beats throughout. Some tracks, like Girl Crush seemed to follow a subtle drum and bass-esque beat- equal but effective- while I’m Shy is gentle and like that of an R&B ballad. Yet, this is offset by her decision in Favourite Problem to stave off bringing drums in until two thirds of the way in.

Stand out tracks on the album

For me, Favourite Problem stands out as the most impactful song from the album. Particularly as it showcases Rebecca’s unbelievable voice. It is a rare example of a voice that harbors both delicate softness and incredible power simultaneously. She then compliments (no pun intended) this with equally beautiful backing vocals. Her acapella singing is weaved with and the accompanying piano. The song in its entirety is a total treat as violins and percussion join in towards the end bringing it to an incredibly powerful finish.

A simple browse of the Self Esteem Instagram page shows how hard she has worked for this album. To summarize the above, it is easy to congratulate Rebecca on the fact that all her hard work has paid off.

The bravery of thinking outside the box when creating a new album should never be understated. For Self Esteem this has been explored successfully and resulted in a product that can be described primarily as “beautiful”- from the musical quality to the stunning album cover and music videos. Self Esteem will be touring from Tuesday 12th March- Friday 22nd March 2019.

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