Slipslide - The World Can Wait

matcd025  /  June 2003
Slipslide - The World Can Wait
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Slipslide - The World Can Wait

matcd025  /  June 2003

Highly anticipated full length from London act Slipslide, featuring the songwriting and vocal skills of Graeme Elston (The Love Parade, Pure, Eva Luna, Astronaut). Entitled "The World Can Wait" the album is the first release since the band's celebrated "Sleeptalk" single 18 months ago. Since then, Elston and fellow Astronaut members Dave Masterman (drums) and Brychan Todd (bass) have been joined by new member Matthew Hawes on guitar and vocals. Contrasting nicely with nine heartfelt compositions from the Elston songbook are two songs by Matthew ("Back to Work" and "Halfway Over Town") that feature a wry lyrical humour and his splendid smokey croon. The album boasts numerous examples of classic songwriting within the three minute pop formula, with the signature 12-string guitars, keyboards, melodies, and addictive choruses found on Slipslide's two previous singles for Matinée. This is refined guitar pop worthy of a place in your collection next to beloved classics from Aztec Camera, Orange Juice, The Colourfield and Go-Betweens.

  1. Sleeptalk
  2. Back To Work
  3. Baked Alaska
  4. The Right Time
  5. Watching, Waiting
  6. Halfway Over Town
  7. Signs Of Life
  8. X Supplies The Answer
  9. Palm House Crawling
  10. Will You Lead Me?
  11. The World Can Wait


Listening to Slipslide's debut full-length is like taking a trip in a time machine back to the late '80s/early '90s when indie pop bands began to get signed by labels with money and headed to proper studios to make big, glossy POP! records. Think of the first Primal Scream album, or the overlooked East Village and their Heavenly recordings. Or think bigger and think about early Lloyd Cole & the Commotions or the Weather Prophets. These are bands with chiming guitars, crystal-clear vocals, and sparklingly clean melodies, bands that write songs that are emotional and immediate. Slipslide is a band like that, and The World Can Wait is an album full of sophisticated, well-played, and well-written songs. Songs like "X Supplies the Answer" and "Baked Alaska" are catchy as heck and would sound good next to "Gentle Tuesday" or "Perfect Skin." Graeme Elston's sweet and sly vocals are perfectly complemented by the full arrangements that manage to sound organic and hand-crafted, yet extremely professional. In an age of computer-aided pop, this is no small feat indeed. There will always be a need for fine pop songs delivered by bands that know how to craft stylish melodies and take the time to record them stylishly. Count Slipslide among them, buy the record, and don't try to exit the time machine until it comes to a complete stop.   --All Music Guide
Those who like your guitars jangly, your pop stylings tight and your acoustic guitars double-strung -- welcome to your favorite album of the summer. Slipslide represents the best of several worlds: it's a band with a very strong primary songwriter whose secondary songwriter turns in a respectable brace of Harrisonesque signature tunes (more on these later); it's a band that wears its Birds, Bunnymen, Go-Betweens and Aztec Camera influences on its well-turned sleeves, but those sleeves have seen custom-tailoring from the hands of a quality haberdasher; it's a band that's clever, but that can dispense with the wit before it starts sounding smarmy; it's a singularly well-put-together band that rocks loosely. It's quite a band. You have, by now, already heard "Sleeptalk", so it behooves me to mention the work of the band's number-two man, Matthew Hawes: "Halfway Over Town" is a solid track with a pleasing close-harmony chorus, but "Back To Work" is in another league. Its theme, impending violent retribution on a firm by a recently spurned employee, is a fascinating thing to write about, but this song may also be the most subtle handling of a violent confrontation since Lyle Lovett's brilliant "L.A. County". And those are the only two songs he wrote. The rest of this brilliance flowed from the pen of Graeme Elston, and there's so much of it that it's hard to take all of it in. Let's take, for instance, "Baked Alaska" as an example: the doubled vocal details a summer in a tourist town, missing a girl who's gone for the season, resenting everyone else's happiness and "wishing it was winter now that she has gone". Not satisfied with description, Elston goes on to offer a prescription: "You've got to take a deep breath / Take control of yourself / Count from one to ten / Til slowly you realize / That all the sweet pain / Is part of the game." Sure, it's the kind of thing you could hear on Oprah, but have you ever heard that woman lilt so beautifully? While there are nods to modernity (the electronic whine and squelches that kick off "Signs of Life", for instance), there's not much here that couldn't have come directly from the '80s. If you think that's a bad thing, go ahead, but I don't recall anyone complaining about this sound then or since. If you need a more modern touchstone, Slipslide compares very favorably with the last few Old 97s albums: there's the same embracing of pure melody and sharp pop songwriting, the same tightness -- plus you get it all with a bit of British accent thrown in. Bonus! Solid songcraft, beautiful vocals, clever lyrics -- Slipslide is just itching to be the soundtrack to the waning days of your summer, as well as the cooler, more contemplative autumn. Let them.   --Splendid
Matinée was the first indiepop label I got into, primarily due to the generous offerings of their sounds page. Two of the first mp3s I downloaded were Slipslide's "Eden" and "Baked Alaska". I had no idea the former was actually a new version of the Eva Luna song. Since then I have grown to love all of Graeme Elston's previous groups, including Eva Luna. Compared to his teenage group Love Parade, the sound of Slipslide's only album is very grown-up. But at the time it was the best album Matinée had put out. It's got a very nostalgic sound, the 12-string guitars somehow reminding me of watching tv as a child. It is actually quite similar to the first Stone Roses album, without the 'hits'. Graeme's voice sounds better than it ever did and the production is spot on. Slipslide proved they still have the knack to bash out jangly goodness with "Let Things Fall Apart" on The Matinée Hit Parade from a couple of years ago, but I am quite content if they remain a one-album-wonder - much like The Bodines, whose "Slip Slide" single they might feasibly have culled their name from.   ---Heaven Is Above Your Head (Best of the Decade)
Matinée mastermind Jimmy Tassos says that Slipslide's debut album, The World Can Wait, is one of Matinée's best albums to date. Once again, I find myself totally and utterly concuring to his opinion, because not only is The World Can Wait one of the label's best records, it's also one of the best indie pop albums to come out all year. Seriously--it's that good. (It's better than Belle & Sebastian's new one, but, then again, that's not really saying much any more.) It's a heady mix of pop melody, intelligent lyrics and smart musical arrangements. It's all quite tasteful and engaging. The World Can Wait (nice Smithsesque title!) starts off on a sublime note, with the lovely "Sleeptalk." The minute lead singer Graeme Elston opens his mouth, you'll realize that you're in the presence of pop greatness. It's a quiet little rocker, one that recalls a time not so long ago (okay, 1988 seems like it's 15 years ago), where bands like Slipslide were loved and nutured and treated with respect, regardless of album sales. (Was it really so long ago when labels respected their artists and invested in a band for the long haul? Seems like a dream..) Heck, these four well-kept young men even look like they have the capability of making great pop music. Typecasting? Judging a book by its cover? Why, of course--why do you think they make covers so pretty? The great thing about The World Can Wait isn't that it has a wonderful retro sound. No, in fact, it doesn't sound 'retro'; it sounds so contemporary to bands like The Mighty Lemon Drops, Go Betweens, Aztec Camera and Ocean Blue. If I wasn't at this point in my life where I eagerly await each and every Matinée release with baited breath, I would easily be convinced that The World Can Wait was a lost album from 1986, held up in major label limbo, and just now seeing the light of day. Though I know better, I'm still not entirely sure that this album wasn't made in 1986. I've been hitting repeat on the lovely, shoulda-been-hits of "Signs of Life," the wonderful "The World Can Wait" and the bedroom dancer "The Right Time." For a label that's released many wonderful albums, The World Can Wait is easily Matinée's crown jewel. I've been listening to it over and over and over and I've written and rewritten this review several times over the past few weeks, but I can't really capture how much I love this album without overwhelming my review with typical fanboy fervor. Instead of pontificating about this or that, I'm just gonna say that this is the best album that Sire never released in 1987, and hope that you understand that such a statement means only one thing: high quality. A great debut album from a record label who have helped to redefine quality in pop music. (They've already surpassed Sarah in my book, and are now on the way of being the next Sire Records--well, sans Madonna. Unless there's something we don't know about...)   --Mundane Sounds
Also on Matinée is Slipside's debut album The World Can Wait. I think this was released in the summer, but somehow it passed me by. Listened to now I'm not sure why I laid it aside, but I'm kind of glad I did because it sounds like a great autumnal record, suffused with the air of smoking bonfires, coats buttoned against the wind, heavy darkening clouds scudding in from the west obliterating the blue. It's all very much in the vein of labelmates The Windmills, or if you prefer those more aged references, it's music that follows in the footsteps of, say, any young man who stood with a guitar in the 1980s but who kind of wished it was the late '60s. Turtlenecks, suede jackets, guitars held high, dreaming of Dylan in Don't Look Back (or if you were the uber-hip, in Eat The Document), sitting up for endless nights playing Tim Buckley records... you know the routine by now. And if that sound, that echo of another time when Aztec Camera singles made doors shine just like gold, well if that sound has become just another Pop formula, then that's just fine because formula is the key to all great Pop as we've discovered time and again. And Slipslide have the formula pretty much nailed. Buy this album whilst the leaves are still drifting into death, and cherish it through the winter nights.   --Tangents
Slipslide do both kinds of music, jingly AND jangly. Now your expectations are controlled, you can get on with liking this. This is not intended to be cutting edge, rather that which is left bleeding, all 60s guitar melody and yearning wistful vocals, rather like the Shins or the Postal Service if they’d had to deal with British weather and a cultural heritage of the Pastels, the Wedding Present and Sarah Records. Slipslide rejoice in two accomplished songwriters, both of whom are capable of taking prosaic old emotions and bringing them to life through the medium of old fashioned tunesmithery – from, say, Keane, this would merely irritate, but both Graeme Elston and Matthew Hawes have the gift of sounding soulful and moving without the histrionics beloved of certain singers from the indie A-list (some of whom don’t seem, in fact, actually that sure of what they’re singing about). I promise you will find something to love here, even if you’re a Franz Ferdinand fan – from crystalline aching opener “Sleeptalk” to the dour, understated “Back to Work”, to the melancholy title track, this is an album not angry, but resigned, and making the best of things. And their best is very good indeed.   --A Welcome Distraction
Radio these days has gone to hell (or as ballboy put it, "all the records on the radio are shite"), yet I still hear new songs ever week that are just crying out to be played on the radio. Not on today's bland corporate-radio but on the radio station of my dreams or on my idealized version of a radio station from the past. The perfect radio song is 2-3 minutes, has a killer melody, and taunts you with its brilliance, saying "don't you want to hear me again...and again...and again?" "Sleeptalk," the first song on (and first single from) Slipslide's debut full-length The World Can Wait is one such song. But you know what? Just about all of the other songs on the album are too. Slipslide are a band that would seem anachronistic if you just swallowed the mainstream media's story on the music world today. They're a band that writes well-crafted pop-rock songs, songs anyone could love and everyone should. That isn't to say their songs are safe or conventional, just that they know what they're doing. The group's songwriter, Graeme Elston, knows how to pick up a guitar and write a song that people will remember, and the rest of the band knows how to play his songs. Clearly influenced both by Postcard Records pop groups (Orange Juice, Aztec Camera) and the Byrds (listen to that 12-string shine), Slipslide deftly take genuine human emotions and mold them into songs that work their way into your brain.   --Erasing Clouds
If only reviewing albums was always as easy as this. Slipslide have put together a debut album of their own music that is instantly likeable and yet it has obvious depth. Graeme Elston's songs are matched by excellent musicianship resulting in high quality pop. "The world can wait" is the first full length album from the London based band Slipslide. But the band members are no strangers to the music scene. The current line up (consisting of Graeme Elston, Matthew Hawes, Brychan Todd and Dave Masterman) evolved together through various musical projects such as Astronaut, Eva Luna, not to mention solo projects from Graeme. The album revels in easy charm alternative country. Guitar driven and highly melodic, each song crafts a unique story for itself. Tenderly sung with gentle harmonies and a bouncy upbeat tempo ensures the album is worms a way into your heart. The opening number, 'Sleeptalk' hits the listener with upbeat infectious guitar, which combined with crisp vocals immediately, grabs your attention and track after track the standard is maintained. The highlights of the album also include the equally catchy and memorable 'The Right Time' and the slightly sad and haunting title track. Whilst 'Watching Waiting' perhaps fully illustrates just how good this band can be. Having one or two outstanding tracks in amongst several bland attempts spoils some albums. This CD avoids that mistake by having so many good tracks that as one finishes you are already looking forward to the next even before it starts. With the correct airplay and a more mature audience than one that simply craves the latest artificial boy/girl band and this first offering could easily contribute a couple of highly placed chart singles. Nevertheless for those that enjoy their music with vibrancy and enjoyment this album could be part of their play lists for sometime to come.   --Friends of the Heroes
there are of course precedents for top showbiz brothers: kid creole and melle mel, neil and nigel blackwell and, er, grant and phil mitchell, but in the indie world, the siblings of choice right now are graeme elston, singer and guitarist with slipslide, and marc elston, the liberty ship's frontman (our latest compilation tape jumps between the two bands, and you can definitely clock the resemblance!) anyway, this time it's slipslide's turn to go under the magnifying glass, as we segue a few thoughts on their first album into a précis of one of their occasional live outings... "the world can wait" was worth the wait, as it displays a wealth of strength in depth - from the go-betweens-y "sleeptalk" through the byrds-like hook and fighting talk ("they took the piss / and now they're going to get what's theirs") of "back to work" to the beat-sympa "x supplies the answer" and "the right time" (pivoting on that riff from choo choo train's "catch another breath"* and ending in a smithsian janglist coda) and then through to the fine "palm house crawling" (currently just about our pick here - opening from a breathy verse into a chorus that mixes just the right level of regret and fuzz and jangle, just like graeme's former outfit pure) and the closing "the world can wait" which has the simple-chord progressions and all the tender warmth of the post-feedback mary chain, with a semi-danceable drumbeat that could have come from the last harper lee album. there are quite a few lyrical references to battering and bruising, faltering and falling, but like harper lee there is an optimism that comes through at the end. and if you need any evidence that matinée is the home of some painfully unheralded songwriters, listen to the lost-in-love mourning of "baked alaska" - we haven't heard a better lyrical thread for some time. oh, and it has a great sleeve, with a nice back cover photo of the four slipslide boys in dapper jackets and open collars, their pints almost empty on the pub table, staring straight at you as if imploring you to get your round in. hell, never mind baked alaska - this album leaves you shimmering with a real ready brek glow.   --In Love With These Times In Spite Of These Times
It took a long time for London's Slipslide to follow their lauded 2002 single 'Sleeptalk' with an album, and as if to remind us what the fuss was all about they use it as an opener here. The received wisdom has it that if it's on Matinée then it's indie pop, but there's a distinct alt-country tinge to 'Sleeptalk'. Not to worry, it's gorgeous, and it's followed by 'Back to Work', the closest thing to The Smiths since, well, The Smiths. This is in part down to Matthew Hawes' croon (he shares vocal duties with Graeme Elston) - a close cousin to Morrissey's but nowhere near as nasally-mannered - but primarily down to its subject matter; ignore the lyrics and it sounds like a wistful love song, listen closer and it's an expectation-subverting, semi-humorous ode to employment. The album title indicates that The Smith's weren't far from Slipslide's thoughts while they were in the studio, but don't be misled; though Slipslide hark back to a 'better' time, they're redolent with the timeless pop of The Go-Betweens and Ocean Blue; like the best work of their peers, 'The World Can Wait' could have been recorded at any time between 1966 and 1986. Their only real slip is to insist on a consistently soft focus approach, never truly surging into fourth gear like The Smiths; this, one suspects, lies behind the too-frequent comparisons they draw with Belle And Sebastian. That last is also misleading; Slipslide sit neatly in the hole between Morrissey and Yo La Tengo.   --Logo Magazine
Not only was Monday my birthday but it was also the official release date for Slipslide's debut album "The World Can Wait" on Matinée. The main man in Slipslide is Graeme Elston, who I have known since he was 17 and in a band called The Very Dabs, who I thought were the bees knees the first time I saw them playing live at the Broken Doll in Newcastle back in 1989, Total Pop Experience! He's since gone through a host of band names ....the Love Parade, Pure and Eva Luna, releasing pearl after pearl after pearl. Wouldn't it be nice if some label did a compilation of all those bands releases, so we can have them all in one place? At last he's managed to record a full l.p. of songs, which I've been waiting god knows how long for, it was certainly worth the wait though, if only for the last track "the world can wait" which apparently nearly didn't make it onto the record, imagine if that had had happened, we would have been deprived of possibly his best song yet, a great combination of The Orchids, Sugargliders and Edwyn Collins all at their very best. Listen to it, sing along to it and fall for it, just like I do everytime it's on. Soundtrack to my summer.   --This Almighty Pop!
I hate to be one of those people who laments the current state of the musical world, because the fact is that there are plenty of great bands working out there making some great music, even a few with some mainstream success. On the other hand, the industry has developed such a narrow focus that whole genres and categories of sound have become difficult to find for all but the most diligently obsessed. I, for one, miss the days when I could turn on the radio or the television and have the off-hand chance of catching an indie pop band like the Smiths or Aztec Camera, but that style of music has been deemed demographically unmarketable, so tough luck. Thankfully, I have this gig, and the opportunity to come across bands like Slipslide, a London indie pop act that melds influences such as Aztec Camera and the Go-Betweens into a melodically breezy sound that has hints of Merseybeat, touches of twee delicacy, and even some faint hints of electronic hooks and details. It's certainly not a unique sound, and there are still plenty of bands trying to plug into the same vein as Belle and Sebastien scrambling about on the fringes, but in this day and age it's a sound that is just damned refreshing. The World Can Wait is everything you want an act like Slipslide to produce. The group first gained notice with the release of a single, the jangle-friendly "Sleeptalk", over a year ago, and appropriately their debut album opens with that track. The song (re-) introduces the listener to Graeme Elston's breathy voice and songwriting talents, backed by a jangly acoustic rhythm and twangy lead guitar. Combined with the backgrounded organ strains, the song has a slightly alt-country feel, but still remains in the realm of sweet pop. But the immediately following track, "Back to Work", shows that the band isn't content to remain in watery faux-country territory. Penned and sung by recently added guitarist Matthew Hayes, "Back to Work" is one of the moments in which Slipslide come close to touching on the precariously ridiculous of the Smiths. Hayes's voice is a delicious croon (yes, like Mozza, but less syrupy), and the song sounds like it could be wistful love song, but is actually a paean to employment, with lines like "When I first left I found it hard to carry on but thought I'd learned / I fooled myself and as the time went by I found my thoughts would turn / Back to work" giving the song a wry humor. Elston is no slouch when it comes to mixing humor into his sentimentality, as songs like "Baked Alaska" and "X Supplies the Answer", which both take their somewhat maudlin themes and express them with a knowing smile. The majority of Slipslide's work, however, is both sentimental and earnest, a combination of traits that seems to mark a band as being the exclusive domain of mopey, overly intellectual geeks, and if that's the company I'm in, then fine, because this music suits me just fine. If there's a complaint to be made about Slipslide, it might be the rather evenly distributed saccharine moments. Decidedly sweet, The World Can Wait doesn't ever really break out and go for the gut the way bands like the Smiths did with songs like "How Soon Is Now?". In fact, if there's such thing as a song being both hushed and anthemic, then Slipslide seems to have found it in "Signs of Life", which is calmly epic, like the Charlatans through a post-nap haze. But it's a great song, and if the band never really surges forward for some straight rock, then at least it manages to avoid being a singularly soft jangle for the whole album. Understated canned beats give flavor to a few of the tracks, and the pendulum swings between Aztec Camera fey-ness to sounds familiar to the Judybats' American South indie pop, hitting some decidedly Britpop moments in between. This is what soft rock should mean, not the pabulum of discarded, light adult contemporary hits. These songs are breezy, soft, and warm. In short, lovely. But they also manage an intelligence and attention to melody and harmony that gives credit to the long history of crooning indie pop. If you're like me, and are a part of the demographic that has been squeezed out by target marketing, then you're probably used to having to actively search for new music to enjoy. If so, then go ahead and take the trouble of seeking out The World Can Wait, because Slipslide is waiting for you.   --Pop Matters