Sixth-grade dances at my local Boys & Girls Club were some of the most awkward times of my adolescence. We would stand around with our hands in our hoodie pockets, maladroit kids clustered into gender-specific pods. For the most part, we didn’t dance at all, and when we did, it was hands-on-shoulders (girls), hands-on-hips (guys) as we rocked side to side, stiff as a board. If we got too close, parent-volunteers would shine a flashlight on us: No touching bodies allowed. Because energetic music wasn’t suited to our metronomic oscillation, we only danced to ballads (usually Brian McKnight or Boyz II Men), which we would request by yelling at the DJ: “We want a slowdance!”
Slowdance (the band), though, has a name that's almost entirely misleading. Their hook-filled indie-pop is upbeat, with enough of a twist that my sixth-grade self wouldn’t have known what to do with them. The guitar on “Spell” brings to mind the Western twang of Ennio Mariconne and the open strum of Power, Corruption & Lies-era New Order. Front-woman, Quay Quinn-Settel, sings with a husky soulfulness—strong, but a little bit coy, like she smokes expensive European cigarettes. If only the sixth graders of the world were getting down to “Spell,” rather than fumbling about to “I'll Make Love To You.”
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