3rd album in 2 years from Winchester/Oxford masters of perfectly-crafted pop
Co-pilgrim's Mike Gale is a man on a mission; "Slows to go" is the 3rd Co-pilgrim album in 2 years, that's in addition to the 2 solo albums he's released this year alone. There are echoes of the implausibe productivity of indie heroes Guided By Voices' to this effect (Gale is a fan) and with 'A Fairer Sea' (2013) and 'Plumes' (2014) high praise indeed has already come Co-pilgrims' way.
Whereas those previous albums were in essence a collaboration between Gale & producer/multi-instrumentalist Joe Bennett (Dreaming Spires/ Goldrush/Danny&the Champs), new set "Slows to go" realises an even fuller sound, with strong contributions from the other band members. Bennett is still at the helm, and Co-pilgrim's trademark lush harmonies are still in evidence (think classic 70s pop & The Beach Boys) but now 12-string riffs and interwoven 6-string guitar lines abound as well, calling to mind 'Murmur'-era REM or esoteric 80s cassette afficionados Cleaners From Venus, all founded on the distinctive rolling bass lines of Andy Reaney (previously Gale's co-conspirator in cult noughties indie-slackers Black Nielson). Featuring a good dose of boy-girl call-and-response between Gale and backing vocalist Claire Bennett, and a mixture of upbeat pop tunes & weary slow-burners, "Slows to go" is a trip that traverses the spectrum of human emotions. If "A Fairer Sea" was a break-up album and "Plumes" was an expression of grief (albeit both concealed with killer pop tunes), then "Slows to go" is a reflection on where those experiences have left Co-pilgrim - all the stronger for it. Who wouldn't want to join that pilgrimage?
"Gale distills sunshine-pop classicism into bittersweet songs that channel the warmth of the West Coast ’70s via deep pile harmonies and layered instruments."
- Mojo ****
"Confident and self-assured in lyricism as well as musicality, it’s a burst of energy in the band’s already lush catalog"
- Consequence Of Sound