You’ll know that voice if you’ve ever sung along with “Alchemy” or “Ten Leaf Clover”. Ben Stewart, the frontman of Slowly Slowly is making music on his own via the moniker of Congrats and we have the pleasure of hearing a released song from the project today! Congrats is described simply in the Congrats triple j Unearthed bio as “I swapped a guitar for a computer & this is what came out”.
It’s a perfect description for something that begins with electro beats instead of a gentle strumming, and soon has us wading in a full and dreamy atmosphere featuring Ben’s echoing vocals. While I’m wondering if the song is even heavy enough for me to write about via Depth, I’m too busy falling in love with the sublime chorus and its heartstring-tugging bass and yearning voice.
“I’ve gotta tread light, or it all goes south”
Invisible confines of genre fall away when the metaphors and storytelling I know and love in songs like Slowly Slowly’s “Aliens” are undeniably present, as is the beauty that moves me with each listen of St. Leonards. It’s so clean and crisp and pop-tastic and yet rich with genuine emotion. The result is a stunning sweet spot of sound and I can’t get enough of it.
By way of meaning, the song strikes me as the observations of one who is orbiting around another (perhaps a former lover?) and trying to make sense of the distance and separation. Also trying to keep a spark of connection alive in the meantime. The state of being ‘cut down the middle’ I understand as wanting to be okay but also wanting more.
Regardless of meaning, every return to the chorus is a treat, and I ride that sweet and confused affection from beginning to end of “Cut Down the Middle”. I hope there’s a music video on the way (see below), but in the meantime, soak up this goodness via triple j Unearthed and your usual streaming places, such as Spotify.