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Never judge a book by its cover – this is and will be a recurring theme of the albums being reviewed this week. Take Limerick, Ireland-based Slow Riot, a trio categorized as a post-punk band. While their early days were centred on recreating the intensity of The Ramones, Iggy and The Stooges, and The Dead Kennedys, their latest effort, Cathedral, sees the band divert to indie-rock landscapes without completely deviating from their origins. The result is one awesome EP that showcases Slow Riot’s versatility and scope to make music that captures the imagination.

The album’s title is quite revealing. In choosing Cathedral as a name, it seems Niall Clancy, Aaron Duff, and Paul Cosgrave are proclaiming a rebirth of Slow Riot, a band that is redefining itself in its sound, image, and focus. This becomes immediately apparent with the stellar opening (and aptly-titled) single, “Demons”, which Wendy called “memorable indie rock” back in September. Echoing of The National in its brooding yet heart-pounding style. Memorable indeed!

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Equally as stunning is “Adele”. While akin to “Demons” in its brooding approach, Slow Riot channel My Bloody Valentine to create a shoegaze, indie rocker. The crystalline guitars are superb, and the guitar solo provided by Duff in the song’s final 45 seconds is awesome, where takes shoegaze into the post-punk realm.

“Cooper’s Dream”, meanwhile, shares similarities with Interpol –  from the deadpan vocals of Clancy and his throbbing bass line to the tickling reverb and shoegaze provided by Duff to the trodding pace provided by Cosgrave on drums. The slow build of the song and its cathartic ending also fall within the shadows of the great Brooklyn band, yet at the same time there is something different. The elongated instrumental closer that has each band member’s notes cascading into a single sound that rises and then trickles away silently is breathtaking. It’s a remarkable display of cathartic musicianship and restraint.

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The band, however, still has an edgy rocker in them, as show in “City of Culture”. Similar to the ending of “Adele”, the band adopts a shoegaze approach to this heavy, pulsating, post-punk anthem. For half the song, the trio take a mid-tempo approach, slowly building the intensity the song before letting loose at the midway mark and then curbing back. It’s an awesome track, reflective of another Irish band’s early post-punk days – U2. And maybe, just maybe, Slow Riot will follow in the footsteps of the self-proclaimed, greatest rock band on the planet or the names of the bands mentioned above. With Cathedral, they have created a memorable EP, one that should be celebrated, if not worshipped, in the days, weeks, and months to come.

Cathedral is out now. Purchase it at Rough Trade UK, iTunes (US/CAN/UK), Amazon (US/UK), and eMusic.

Facebook – Slow Riot
Twitter – @Slow_Riot_Band
Instagram – @slowriot.theband

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Slow Riot - Cathedral

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