With the release of 2018’s full-length debut Aurora, Belgian shoegazers Slow Crush — currently Isa Holliday (vocals, bass), Jelle Harde Ronsmans (guitar), Jeroen Jullet (guitar) and Frederik Meeuwis (drums) — exploded into the international shoegaze scene. And between 2018 and early 2020, the Belgian outfit supported their debut with relentless touring across the world with acts like Pelican, Torche, Soft Kill, and Gouge Away — and with festival stops at Roadburn, ArcTanGent, 2000Trees and Groezrock.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Slow Crush was forced to cancel two European tours and a Stateside tour at the last minute. Interestingly, for Slow Crush, the pandemic was a bit of a blessing and a curse: The time off from touring allowed the and to re-think and re-group. Aurora‘s unexpected success and the demands of heavy touring had taken a toll on everyone’s personal lives. And it was intensified with a massive lineup change that resulted in two members leavingHolliday and Ronsmans eventually recruited the band’s newest members Jullet and Meeuwis to complete the band’s newest lineup. Shortly after the band’s newest lineup was settled, their label Holy Roar Records collapsed, leaving the band without a home.
Hush, Slow Crush’s sophomore album is slated for an October 22, 2021 release through Quiet Panic. Written in between tours and the unexpected downtime during pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns, the album’s material is heavily influenced by turbulent times — both personal and global. While further cementing their sound, featuring abrasive and whirling layers of guitars, thunderous drumming paired with Holliday’s ethereal vocals, Hush reportedly finds the band growing as musicians and songwriters. Although the album was informed by and inspired by the dark and heavy times, the material isn’t all bleak; in fact, it’s filled with the hope for a bright, new day.
Earlier this year, I wrote about the brooding album title track “Hush.” Centered around an expansive song structure with alternating dreamy and stormy sections featuring towering layers of feedback and fuzz pedaled guitars, thunderous drumming and Holiday’s sensual yet ethereal cooing, “Hush” expresses an aching and unreciprocated longing.
“Swoon,” Hush‘s latest single is a breakneck ripper centered around fuzzy power chords, thunderous drumming, mosh pit friendly hooks. And while the song’s arrangement brings Finelines era My Vitriol and Lightfoils to mind, Isa Holiday’s ethereal vocals sing introspective and impressionistic lyrics. The song can be read in a number of different ways: it could be read as touching upon the loneliness, uncertainty and longing that comes about as a result of a seemingly bitter breakup. But it can also be read as a desire to escape a bleak world through connecting with someone equally as lonely as you are.
Directed by Jeroen Jullet, the recently released video for “Swoon” follows young doppelgängers for Slow Crush as they hit the road for their next show in a van paired with footage of the band’s Holiday walking through the woods in a frenetically edited, 120 Minutes MTV-like visual.