Slow Dazzle

The View from the Floor

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AllMusic Review by

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's laid-back cool 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 recent 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 (though the drum machine on "Anthem" sounds cheesy for about a second, it soon falls into place with the rest of the song's arrangement). 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 View from the Floor's most immediate songs, but Bracy's Dylan and Leonard Cohen-shaded tracks like "A Welfare State" and "The Prosecution Rests" 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.

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