Self Esteem


Self Esteem is the new solo project of former Slow Club member Rebecca Taylor, a band which I know very little about so that’s all the info you’re getting about them from me. Having never been a fan of said band, I came to Self Esteem on the back of hearing the wonderful ‘The Best’ on the radio (for younger readers, radio is like a Spotify playlist but someone talks between the music) and instantly falling in love with it, assuming Self Esteem was from a brand new artist that was just starting out. Turns out Taylor has been in the ol’ music game for quite some time with her former band, but who gives a flying fuck about them when she’s striking out on her own making some of the best pop music available in our fair isle at the moment?

In a packed Pink room at Yes, Taylor comes onto stage to a rousing reception, following her bassist, drummer and two backing singers/dancers, all clad in blood red, to take centre stage flanked by her accomplices who provide stunning harmonies and sweet choreographed dance moves throughout proceedings. Straight into the defiant ‘Rollout’ with its almost hip hop beat and cry dance lyrics (“what might I have achieved/if I wasn’t trying to please”), the stage is set for a night of pretty much pure pop perfection and joy unbounded, from both the audience and Taylor on stage. Indeed, when the entirety of ‘The Best’ is sung back at her word for word later on in the set, she has to keep pausing to giggle in disbelieve as we all sing “my mouth is dry for you/you paint a pretty picture I’ll put my fist right through” and “I did the best that I could babe” with her, and after the song she endearingly exclaims, “Jesus, I feel like Robbie fucking Williams up here.” *several heart eye emojis*

The vast majority of her brilliant debut album Compliments Please is aired tonight, the outstanding ‘Wrestling’ with (genuinely) its links to Kanye’s ‘Love Lockdown’ (it’s all in the almost tribal beat and that ‘hi-higher’ moment), and the sad-banger ‘In Time’ (“don’t feel sorry for me/I’m doing fine/patiently seething waiting for you to leave”), being particular highlights, backed by the tremendous harmonies of her on stage partners who are immaculate both in their dance steps and vocal business. There’s a show stopping stunner of a moment as Taylor and her singers do the breakup ballad ‘She Reigns’ almost completely acapella, Taylor showcasing her incredible voice and way with a lyric: “it’s always been you/but I’ve really cut the cord this time/baby I’m not easy to be with like this/it’s ok to quit/but no one ever tried like you”, it’s a proper hairs-on-the-back-of-your-neck moment.

After a barnstorming rendition of the aforementioned ‘The Best’, a short break sees the band return for an encore of ‘Favourite Problem’ and then pull the trick of the night as they all wade onto the floor to play the album’s quietest moment ‘I’m Shy’ acoustically in the middle of a circle of adoring crowd members, once again singing along word for word, the whole place joined together around Taylor for one massive love-in; it’s the perfect way to end one of the most enjoyable gigs of the year so far.

Slow who? Self Esteem’s the only act in town now lads.

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