Even though Shannon McArdle and Timothy Bracy have been New Yorkers since The Mendoza Line relocated from Georgia to Brooklyn in the late '90s, their debut album as Slow Dazzle is the first music from them to really conjure the sounds of the city. The View from the Floor has a laid-back cool which owes a sizable debt to quintessential New York bands spanning The Velvet Underground to Luna, but McArdle and Bracy are strong enough songwriters that the well-worn influences that pop up throughout the album feel more comforting than derivative. They also manage to make Slow Dazzle distinctive from their Mendoza Line work; though an urbane twang permeates The View from the Floor, the album is much more atmospheric than The Mendoza Line's output.
The subtle electronic touches on songs like "Wedding Dance" play a big part in the album's hazy sophistication; miraculously, they don't feel like they're grafted onto the songs to make them sound more "modern," nor do they trigger any bad trip-hop flashbacks. The songs McArdle sings, such as the opening "Fleur de Lie," the sweetly trippy country-pop of "The Extent of My Remarks," and the title track's She Hangs Brightly-era Mazzy Star homage, are the most immediate songs on The View from the Floor, but Bracy's Leonard Cohen-shaded tracks like "A Welfare State" and "The Prosecution Rests" also add to the album's familiar-but-not-too-nostalgic vibe. Dreamily unconcerned about sounding hip or urgent, The View from the Floor is a pleasant, quietly accomplished debut - something that is too often in short supply.
1. Fleur De Lie
2. A Welfare State
3. Wedding Dance
4. The Prosecution Rests
5. The Extent Of My Remarks
6. The View From The Floor
8. Now or Never or Later
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CD: Jewel case with full lyric booklet