Belgian shoegazer outfit Slow Crush — currently Isa Holliday (vocals, bass), Jelle Harde Ronsmans (guitar), Jeroen Jullet (guitar) and Frederik Meeuwis (drums) — exploded into the international shoegaze scene with the release their full-length debut, 2018’s Aurora. Between 2018 and 2020, Slow Crush supported the album with nonstop, 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.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the members of the Belgian shoegazer outfit was forced to cancel plans for two European tours and a Stateside tour at the last minute. But interestingly enough for the band, the pandemic was a bit of a blessing and a bit of a curse: The time off from touring allowed the band 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. This was intensified with a massive lineup change, which saw two members leave. Eventually Holliday and Ronsmans recruited the band’s newest members Julioet and Meuwis to complete the band’s newest lineup. And adding to a stormy period of change and uncertainty, the band’s label Holy Roar Records collapsed, leaving the band without a home.
Slow Crush’s highly anticipated sophomore album is slated for a Friday 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 and 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.
In the lead up to the album’s release, I’ve written about two of Hush‘s released singles:
- Brooding album title track “Hush,” which was centered around an expansive song structure with towering layers of feedback and fuzz pedaled guitars, thunderous drumming and Holiday’s sensual yet ethereal cooing. And at its core, the song expresses an aching and unreciprocated longing.
- “Swoon,” a breakneck ripper with mosh pit friendly hooks that brought Finelines era My Vitriol and Lightfoils to mind but paired with 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.
“Lull,” Hush‘s latest single continues a run of brooding and lush painterly textured shoegaze that may remind some listeners of a slick synthesis of A Storm in Heaven, Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine. And much like its predecessors, the song features impressionistic lyrics that express a profound and bitter ache.
The recently released video for “Lull” by Bobby Pook at SumoCrucial is a hazy yet cinematic fever dream that follows a man riding around a very European town on a bicycle when he sees a woman walking into the sea, The man gets off his bicycle and runs towards the woman — but is she a mirage? Is she some lingering ghost that has haunted him? That is up to you.