It was December 2019 and a very normal Christmas unfurled its tinsel and lights all over London city. Gyrating in Brixton’s subterranean Windmill were the Slender Pins. The four piece played a proudly flamboyant set, adopting and camping up the pub rock procedure; drums, bass, guitar and front man. Sonically akin to Roxy Music and Mott the Hoople, Slender Pins adorned no sequins, makeup or other glamorous accessories. The band looked as if they had scurried on the bus from work, loosened their ties and transmogrified into the night. Their final song; a eulogy to the unionised Elves manning Santa’s factories, stayed with me all through the festive period.
Fast forward to the present day and the band have self released a new single; ‘Dancing Mania (I Want To Want To Dance)’. The band’s eagerness to perform live manifests in the minimalist recording style. It is what I have heard middle aged men in Reading – wearing Foo Fighters tee-shirts – call “no nonsense rock”.
Clearly the players know how to play together and I find myself longing for one member to throw a curveball and see how they rearrange themself in a more experimental formation.
Though sonically gesturing to the early noughties the song relays a strange occurrence 600 years ago when people en masse began breaking out in dancing fits. Like Boney M before them Slender Pins opt for the high treble radio effect to establish a timeless and omniscient narrator. Never mind that Rasputin was dead and the middle ages were long over before the megaphone was invented!
By the end of its three minutes and twenty five seconds the song is enjoying itself. The drums and guitar do an electric Punch and Judy routine, snapping back at one another, while yelping vocals desperately try to communicate the severity of the dancing rapture.
The track finishes with the singer; Ash quipping “there’s so much time and none of it is mine.” It’s enough to make you wonder whether the band longs for the middle ages? Or whether they would happily do away with the safety and luxury of modern life to witness a new phenomena?
Regardless of what they desire, they are a tight and infectious indie band. Their charismatic frontman, channeling his inner Lux Interior and Fred Schneider is more than a little refreshing in this age of tartuffery, where the singers – girls and boys – seem determined to demonstrate their indignation and disgust at the world, while chanting in chorus a series of empty self-care slogans.
It is live that Slender Pins are their most exciting though. On stage their energy has fewer limits and one begins to understand how those curious souls must have felt in the middle ages when the desire to dance came upon them. Of course it is not easy to take a tumultuous sound from a room and get it on record with warm blood still in the veins. To Slender Pins credit; a great live band are the hardest to capture. It is so much easier to put shit food in a tin, than it is something with flavour.
‘Dancing Mania (I Want to Want to Dance)’ is out on 25th June.
Review by Patrick Malone