Months after the release of their album Atelophobia and being on tour as a supporting act for Beach Fossils, the six-piece Los Angeles band, Slow Hollows, released their full length album Romantic under Danger Collective Records on November 4, 2016.
Headed by 18-year-old Austin Feinstein, who has collaborated with many artists, including Frank Ocean and Tyler, The Creator in the past, Slow Hollows exemplifies an overall theme of hardships within society, the romanticizing of mental illness, and the ‘tortured artist’ appeal to the public through Romantic. With the highlights, not so much of love, but the idea of the inability to handle situations that tend to be glorified in society today, Romantic is a raw look into what is occurring within humanity, as seen by the band’s members.
The first track of the album, “Spirit Week,” gets straight to the underlying lyrical tones of melancholy with a hint of existentialism that is found throughout the rest of Romantic. The start of the track, “I live a life alone, nothing is real, nobody’s home,” stopped and made me think that the rest of the album will for sure be an emo ride. Next thing I knew, the slow trumpet sounds against a slightly angsty guitar-fueled background hit. (Maybe I should mention that, by this time, I needed to withhold myself from being in public while listening to this album.) As Romantic continues to the second song, “Again,” the strumming of an easy —yet very effective guitar strumming pattern kicks in alongside the jazzy increments of a trumpet. With an overall similar sound and message to their previous album, Romantic seems to be a continuation of Atelophobia.
Despite having minimal lyrical content, various songs on Romantic, like “4141” and “Luxury of Lull,” bring the album together. From the song “Easy,”—a much more toned down song—to a more upbeat song, “Softer,” has the instrumental tracks between them. The song “4141” foreshadows a change in sound and allows the listener to really dive into the musical talents of Slow Hollows. “Luxury of Lull,” changes tones from beginning to end. With a slow, steady start to an intensifying ending, “Luxury of Lull” is placed beside one of the more grunge songs on the album, “Hospital Flowers.”
With few albums out there that can hook a listener from the first track, Slow Hollows manages to pull ‘em in from the start and keep them until the very end. The ambiguous lyrics of Romantic allow for open interpretation by the listeners. Whether they follow along the lines of personal experiences or the messages of societal ideologies that are consistently being placed on artists, such as the ‘tortured look,’ listeners are able to make of what they wish with each song on because of its collective ambiguity. Messages portrayed on the album include societal views on ‘tortured artists’ and the romanticism of mental illness.
It must not be forgotten that the lead singer, Austin Feinstein, has a voice that further helps emphasizes the album’s lyrics. With a deep voice, the soft-spoken singer adds to the record’s melancholy undertones. Romantic is almost an open ended journal of Slow Hollows—simple, sweet, and straight to the point.
To tie the album all together at the end, the title track returns listeners back to a tendency for society to romanticize the instability of people. The slower soft-rock track carries the lyrics, “I think my opinion is fine and I think your opinion is blind.”
Slow Hollows is set to support Cherry Glazerr from the end of December all the way through the end of February. They will stop for a show in Seattle on February 8, 2017 at The Crocodile.
If you’re looking for an album that will make you think deeply, even though a majority of the lyrical content is simple and seems like you’re reading someone’s personal journal, Romantic is the album for you. (It’s most definitely not a gushy love album; that’s for sure.)
CELENE KOLLER | Wow, this was deep. | KXSU Music Reporter