The Gig Cartel - Artist profiles: The Slow Readers Club

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The Slow Readers Club

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The story so far. Slow Reader’s Club are one of the greatest self-made success stories in recent British rock history. Rising from the ashes of ‘00s rockers Omerta in 2009, Manchester’s The Slow Reader’s Club – Wythenshawe siblings Aaron and guitarist Kurtis Starkie, bassist James Ryan and drummer David Whitworth - built an army of avid local subscribers over two self-released and hand-designed albums (2011’s self-titled debut and 2015’s ‘Cavalcade’), years of relentless gigging and social media plugging, and the support of 6Music champion Steve Lamacq. These were records where Aaron’s on-the-edge internal struggles with paranoia, loneliness, alcohol-induced anxiety and romantic desolation came lashed to anthemic electro rock songs boasting the noir lustre of Interpol, Alt-J, The Maccabees and Depeche Mode.

By the time they were storming festivals such as Tramlines, Kendal Calling, Isle Of Wight and Victorious and selling out Manchester shows galore, The Slow Reader’s Club were flying off the shelves. 2018’s ‘Build A Tower’, their first album on a label (Modern Sky), cracked the UK Top 20 as it peppered Aaron’s anguish with more political material decrying the world’s swing to the far right and religion’s lingering, pernicious grip on politics and society. Upping the budget, the more collaborative and sonically advanced 2020 follow-up ‘The Joy Of The Return’ did better still, making Number 9 with its stirring condemnations of the modern world and “the horrors of humanity”: political chaos, tech slavery and algorithmic thought control (‘No Surprise’ concerned Cambridge Analytica’s online influence in the Trump and Brexit campaigns).

As lockdown kicked in the week of the album’s release, the tour for ‘The Joy Of The Return’ fell foul of the pandemic and, instead TSRC recorded a fifth album wrapped up in the lockdown experience of “seeing people tear holes out of one another online, whether it be Brexit related, vaccine politics or identity politics”. The result, self-released in October 2020, was ’91 Days In Isolation’, a darker, more ethereal lockdown take on the Slow Reader’s sound.

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