On his latest album, Under the Sodium Lights, Slow Dancing Society (aka Drew Sullivan) comes through nicely once again with his signature mix of processed guitar washes and slow, melancholic melodies. The tracks melt together in your head, but if it’s due to a sameness of sound, then I have to say it’s a pleasing sameness. What works best here is that Sullivan’s straightforward playing has a real crispness to it, a strength and clarity that doesn’t just ease the playing over his reverent, almost church-organ-esque washes–it makes it pop. I also love the sound of Sullivan’s laid-back, country-bred slide guitar work and the shot of unexpected spice it brings to the sound.
There’s always a sense of fading sadness to Slow Dancing Society, but it’s a sadness on the verge of getting over whatever it was that set you off all melancholy and brooding in the first place. There’s a sigh of hope under it all. It feels at times like the soundtrack to something we’ve all been through. It’s sitting, thinking, sighing and then deciding to just get on with it, caught in a very enjoyable listen.
With four excellent discs under his belt and the SDS style firmly established, there is part of me that would like to hear what else Sullivan is capable of creating, whether it’s a deeper guitar ambient sound or more straight-ahead guitar playing. I’ll always welcome the chance to drop into the easy familiarity, consistent quality and emotional depth of Slow Dancing Society, but I also feel that there’s much more Drew Sullivan yet to be heard.
Available from Hidden Shoal Recordings.
Get a taste of Slow Dancing Society’s music with this Hypnagogue Half-hour Spotlight: http://bit.ly/ay9w8A