7

Slowly Rolling Camera: Slowly Rolling Camera

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
A band name—and album title—like Slowly Rolling Camera gives little if anything away about the nature of the music to be experienced on this, the debut album from the UK-based quartet. Good—for surprises can be fun. Once the music becomes familiar—the beautiful, imaginative and ambitious compositions become firmly fixed in the mind—the surprise is revealed to be lots of fun.

Two other UK bands, the Cinematic Orchestra and Portishead, are Slowly Rolling Camera's own points of reference for its sound. There's also something of Massive Attack's laid-back confidence—unsurprisingly, as producer Andy Allan has worked with both Portishead and Massive Attack. At its most soulful, on "Protagonist" and "Dream A Life," Slowly Rolling Camera seems to have its roots just as firmly in the sound of Soul II Soul.

The core quartet that forms Slowly Rolling Camera—vocalist Dionne Bennett, keyboard player Dave Stapleton, Deri Roberts on electronics and drummer Elliott Bennett —are augmented by guest musicians including saxophonist Mark Lockheart, bassist Jasper Hoiby and trumpeter Neil Yates. Electronics, keyboards and synths are central to the music but the guest players make emphatic contributions, the acoustic instruments in particular adding a warmth to the sound that the electronics—with the exception of Stapleton's Fender Rhodes—seldom match.

Lockheart's tenor solo on "Rain That Falls" is lyrical, his soprano on "Slowly Rolling Camera" is vibrant and emotive. Høiby's tough, assertive bass gives "Protagonist" real punch and contrasts well with Dionne Bennett's vocal. On "Dream A Life" he combines with Elliot Bennett's drums and Dionne Bennett's vocal at the core of the album's most striking number. Both of these songs, incidentally, highlight the connection with Soul II Soul.

"River Runs Free" is a lovely slice of ambient calm. "Rolling Clouds" is more up-tempo, with Chris Montague's electric guitar, Lockheart's soprano saxophone and Elliot Bennett's drums adding a note of urgency. The Portishead influence is most apparent on songs such as the moody "Fragile Ground" and "Two Roads" and the gorgeous "Bridge"—although Dionne Bennett's voice is more gospel-tinged than Beth Gibbons.'

Slowly Rolling Camera is available as a CD and, courtesy of Edition Records' collaboration with Gearbox Records, as a vinyl album (with download code). The comparisons being bandied about (including the ones in this review) offer a hint at Slowly Rolling Camera's heritage, but an intimate knowledge of the Portishead or Soul II Soul back catalog is far from necessary for enjoyment of the music. Once Slowly Rolling Camera infiltrates the mind with its gorgeous compositions it becomes clear—this album heralds the arrival of a new and distinctive ensemble.

Track Listing: Protagonist; Dream A Life; Rain That Falls; Bridge; Slowly Rolling Camera; Outside; Fragile Ground; Two Roads; River Runs Free; Rolling Clouds; Color.

Personnel: Dionne Bennett: vocals; Dave Stapleton: Fender Rhodes, piano, Hammond organ; Deri Roberts: electronics, trombone, saxophone; Elliot Bennett: drums, drum programming; Neil Yates: trumpet; Mark Lockheart: soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone; Chris Montague: guitar; Jasper Høiby: double bass; Jon Visanji: violin; Catrin Win Morgan: violin; Victoria Stapleton: violin; Katy Rowe: violin; Ilona Bondar: viola; Rebekah Frost: viola; Alice Hoskins: cello; Sarah Stevens: cello.

Title: Slowly Rolling Camera | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Edition Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Gledalec CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Flux Reflux CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Christmas With Champian CD/LP/Track Review Christmas With Champian
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Around The Horn" CD/LP/Track Review Around The Horn
by Jeff Winbush
Published: April 16, 2017
Read "I Know Who I Am" CD/LP/Track Review I Know Who I Am
by James Nadal
Published: July 26, 2017
Read "Janus" CD/LP/Track Review Janus
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 1, 2016
Read "Kisaragi" CD/LP/Track Review Kisaragi
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 17, 2017
Read "Rediscovered Ellington" CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 29, 2017
Read "The Duke Box 2" CD/LP/Track Review The Duke Box 2
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 14, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.