Be Slowly sees Jaws escape the monotony of grey city life by injecting bursts of colour through their dream-like guitar riffs that float seamlessly through every song on their debut album.
Opening track ‘Time’ sets the pace for the album, combining a Nirvana-inspired guitar and bass line with Connor Schofield’s wistful vocals to create a haunting yet powerful opening. The Brummie-band try to balance old and new with the amount of new tracks on the album rather surprising, featuring only one track from their much-loved EP Milkshake. ‘Gold’ offers an insight to the bands heavier side, with chorus “take me where the gold drips from the sun to my back” supported by almost hypnotic guitar riffs that almost capture you up in a frenzy of pulsating drums and guitars hitting you from all directions.
If we were to carry on with the water related theme common to Birmingham bands, ‘Be Slowly’ captures the infinite freedom of the sea perfectly, juxtaposing with the never ending grey streets and even greyer buildings that maze throughout the city. ‘Swim‘ creates a euphoric sense of youth, with the spiralling synth line offering an uplifting sense of bliss that would be a perfect song to be played at sunset at a beach party. Jaw’s influences from 90’s grunge bands returns with ‘Home’ which again creates a feeling of all-consuming noise attacking you from every angle so common throughout the album. While possibly one of the slightly more forgettable tracks on the album, it still captures the pains of youthful angst with a ferocious bite.
Despite their clear influences from bands like Nirvana, the title track ‘Be Slowly’ returns to their gleeful excitement with hints of influence from the likes of The Cure. While the album may feature a range of influences, never does it feel like there are any contrasting personalities the album, with each song building on from the next. Their mixture of poppy-cheerfulness and grunge-ridden angst only serves to complement each other, meaning the album doesn’t sound too ‘samey’ despite the dream-like sound that resides throughout the album.
Perhaps it is ‘Think too Much, Feel too Little’ where Jaws find their stride; the song is built upon a repeated bass line that even takes a nod at the bands funkier side. The song cresendos throughout until returning to that much-loved bass line which will leave you feeling nostalgic for hours after listening. Another fan-favourite ‘Surround You’ makes itself known with a synth opening that looks to mean business. More spiralling synths feature throughout the chorus that mean the song is infectious and leaves you with the overwhelming feeling of jumping uncontrollably around your bedroom. Final track ‘NYE’, however, begins to become a bit Swim Deep-esque and while it does offer a final nostalgic feel for the end of the album and does feature a euphoric guitar solo, Jaws’ dreamy sound perhaps starts to work against them.
Overall, Jaws’ debut album can only be called a triumph. Often seen in the shadow of their ‘B-Town’ predecessors Peace and Swim Deep, Jaws prove that they place on the side-lines no more. The overall album fits together perfectly with one track floating through dreamily to the next. Notably, their simple and nostalgic lyrics are also by no-means of Lennon and McCartney standard, but if their aim was to summarise youth in one album then they have achieved just that. An album full of youth, nostalgia and freedom, Jaws have created an album that offers that needed bit of sunlight in these rainy September days and for that Jaws, bravo.
Words by Juliette Rowsell