SLOWtheIMPACT began as a solo project of Steve Cockayne (guitar, vocals) in Portland, OR in 2007. Presently, the band is a quintet - the line-up includes Amy Smith (keyboard/back vocals), Zach Barnum (bass/vocals), Brad Buttram (guitar) and Mark Matocha (drums).
The newly released "Pleasantly Amused" track comes from their 3rd album entitled ...and Those We've Left Behind. It starts off with vocals and bass bringing about the flavour of old school goth music (for instance The Cure).
As for the main theme, "Pleasantly Amused" is a love song. The lyrics talk about missing a partner when spending time away from one another and the desire to meet again. The band shows a lot of experience in handling the subject matter of saving or improving a relationship under such duress. This song may work really well for teenagers and 20-something couples who most often fall into a turbulent love life head-first.
Musically, from the very beginning, the bass builds a solid but dynamic core of the track, enriched with drums and keyboards later on. The bass line sounds simple and quite typical for 80s goth rock music. "Pleasantly Amused" doesn't bring along any dramatic moods, though your ear may detect a bit of impatience or even anxiety. A balanced share of instrumental parts, including peaceful guitars together with lightly accented drums make the whole a rather ear-friendly composition. Repeating arrangements and vocals easy enough to sing along work really well for the track, giving it a strong hit potential. The musicians play their parts very well and Steve's neat voice matches the overall mood of the song. Everything falls into place without stirring unexpected controversies within the song. Furthermore, it’s evident that considerable production, mixing and mastering skill were employed to polish the track, something that’s usually a problem for many self-sufficient bands.
Still, aside all this alternative-pop-rock compositional correctness, "Pleasantly Amused" lacks a bit more of an original approach, a touch of spirit to drag and shake the listener. Since a lot of listeners prefer a familiar sounding vibe, it should not be a big problem in terms of the band's success, though.
The song is as easy-listening as memorable, and one can definitely imagine "Pleasantly Amused" in movie trailers, commercials or popular radio playlists. The length of the track (almost 4 minutes) and its easy to adapt structure (thanks to repetitions) perfectly supports such purposes.
It should be also noted that SLOWtheIMPACT seems to be doing a good promotional job for their new, independently released album. They have an interestingly designed official website and frequently updated social profiles, which you should definitely visit. The song is available for purchase from the majority of popular digital distributors and the band also offers various merchandise in their own store.
(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, July 4th, 2013. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)
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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine