Anyone arguing the case that the Pale Saints were the sole vision of Ian Masters was pretty much silenced when he left the group.
Masters might have said some misleading things to the press but, as it turned out, his mates had a great deal of artistic input. That's probably what led to his departure. Wanting to do things more his way -- abandon drums, screw with song structures, experiment like a mad scientist, etc. Little Gesture - Pale Saints - Slow Buildings to Masters ' tales of artistic control, many were surprised to see the band continue. Meriel Barham took over all vocal duties, and Colleen Browne was brought in on bass.
Yet Slow Buildings doesn't do much to dissuade listeners from the general opinion that Masters was the band's creative center. Five tracks clock in at over six minutes; rather than concocting lovely mood setters or dynamic epics, the material is "just there" and fails to stimulate. Some ugly guitar fireworks don't mesh like the Little Gesture - Pale Saints - Slow Buildings solo in "Gesture of Fear"and there are no less than a handful of other instances where one loses sight of where the band's coming from.
Program out some of the clutter, and there's a decent to minute record here, although still not on the level of the band's prior works. Credit the Pale Saints for remaining creative and prolific in the wake of a key member's departure, but there's little denying the failure of Slow Buildings.
The discomforts of blandness? Quite possibly. Advice: no one hoping to like this record should listen to Lush 's Split within the same month; the similarly formatted and styled record completely belittles Slow Buildings in every respect.
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