Adult Jazz

So Sorry So Slow

Contact Jaycee Rockhold about Adult Jazz

Today, London-based four-piece Adult Jazz — Harry Burgess, Tim Slater, Steven Wells, and Tom Howe — announce their first full-length album in a decade, So Sorry So Slow, out April 26th. Alongside the announcement comes lovesick new single Suffer Onefeaturing Owen Pallett. So Sorry So Slow contains some of the band’s most abrasive but gentle, beautiful and melismatic work to date. It has many defining characteristics: romance, panic, devotion and remorse, threaded together by an intentionally laser-focused love. It’s deeply personal, bruised and candid in its expressions of tenderness, and deeply pained in its concurrent reflections of ecological regret. Across its hour-long runtime, a delicate, frenetic energy and glacial heaviness coexist, the band pitting those paces against one another. In their richly experimental timbre, dancing strings and fluttering falsettos prang against a bed of brass drones like a wounded bird.


Today’s “Suffer One” is a cautious excavation of self and sexuality, clambering across a gorgeously shapeshifting, filmic five-minutes. “The song itself is about romance and seeking connection, and the sometimes terror baked into that,” says the band. “It was one of the earlier tracks the lyrics were completed on, and it ends with a bit of pathetic fallacy indulgence, which I think in hindsight teed up a lot of the conflation of the personal with the ecological in the rest of the record.” They recorded the cello and guitar together with no metronome, resulting in a loose shifting rhythm. The final stage was Owen Pallett’s string arrangement, and viola and violin playing. The band adds: “We’ve been listening to Owen’s music since we were 15, and have always admired their songwriting so we were incredibly honored they were up for it. The strings lent this final surge of energy that helped us feel it was done.”


So Sorry So Slow was recorded in bursts at studios across London and in the band members’ flats, at Konk, on the Isle of Wight and in Sussex, and mixed by Fabian Prynn at 4AD Studios and mastered by Alex Wharton at Abbey Road. The album is unambiguous in its evolution. Sonically, there are sparks of the arrhythmic brightness that afforded the band’s critically acclaimed debut album Gist Is its cult adoration, for fans of Arthur Russell and Meredith Monk, but with a blossoming, melancholic darkness often overhead. Piano sprees and luscious string sections appear like low-hanging stars on a night-time drive, whilst plunging vocal distortions and humming brass loops resurrect heavy limbs in a bad dream.


“A number of the first songs in their original forms were almost musical theater piano ballads,” says Burgess. “I think that was really a device to write about my life as the ‘main character’ (pre internet-speak reframing): regrets about romance, relationships – unsustainable relationships with the self and others. However, once we started writing, the ideas about unsustainable personal relationships, loving unevenly and heartbreak conflated with a more expressly ecological regret. Like contending with big feelings of loss, endings, beauty, desolation, and with how much joy the earth contains in it. I love how ecosystems fit together – even the brutal stuff. It may be basic to say, but now is the time to be laser focused on that love. I was thinking about human centrality on earth, us as the ‘main character’.”


“Now I would say the record is about gripping. Totems being: crampons, rope, drips, desalination equipment, accruing various survival tech. I think gripping sums up both of the threads. There’s the emotionally correct clinging to the earth that is the substrate of everything we value, or the delusional clinging to our imagined dominant position. But also the practical, technological aspects of creating a sustainable relationship, of remaining here. Then I think of romance again.”