Three years after their hugely successful and acclaimed debut album Aurora, the dreamy Belgian based quartet return with a tweaked line up and a more intricate, richer sound to deliver one of the most beautiful albums of the year. Like many bands during the pandemic, Slow Crush found their tour schedules constantly cancelled and rearranged, and used this unprecedented downtime to compose new material, resulting in Hush, an album that is more introspective, intricate and at times gloomier affair than their debut.
All the elements that made Aurora magical are present on Hush, but this time everything feels dialled up a notch; the band’s sound now cinematic in scope and the intimate moments achingly more tangible. Throughout the record, Isa Holliday’s wistful croon moves effortlessly through the warm walls of guitar, propelled by her own, understated bass lines, like on the gorgeous, aptly-titled ‘Gloom’, where The Cure-like guitar lines of Jelle Harde Ronsman echo out, blissfully bolstering Holliday’s gentle, dreamlike vocals. Similarly, the melancholic, wintery ‘Reve’ unfolds gently into a ghostly ballad, peppered by some wonderfully sensitive drum work from newcomer Frederik Meeuwis, his patterns pairing exquisitely with Holliday’s expressive bass playing and the track’s expansive feel. Indeed, the fleeting surge of ‘Swoon’ aside, the emotional gut punches on Hush lie in its slower, more tender moments, of which there are plenty, such as the melancholic, swaying balladary of ‘Lull’, the Sigur Rós recalling melodies of opener ‘Drown’ and the spacey, sorrowful sounds of ‘Thrill’.
The leaps Slow Crush have made in terms of songwriting and execution from Aurora to Hush are huge; whilst the former is without doubt a wonderful album in its own right, it’s quite clear now just how much that was a mere taste of what was to come. There’s an emotional heft to these tracks that is unlike anything they’ve recorded before; the band have transcended their shoegaze label and produced an album of profoundly moving songs.
Hush is released on 22nd October via Church Road Records and is available to purchase here.
Words: Adam Pegg