Slow Learner is the project of New York-based singer-songwriter and
multi-instrumentalist (guitars, piano, bass, organs, accordion, melodica,
harmonica and percussion) Michael Napolitano that debuted with
In Their Time They Are Magnificent (2006), featuring Mike Hotter on lead guitar.
Napolitano boasts a coarse baritone that could deliver torch ballads and
even opera arias, but chooses to set his vocal chores in a broader context
of studio collage and sound sculpting (always within the boundaries of the
This approach yields both cute ditties such as Martyr, a facile singalong
set at a military musichall tempo,
and complex, articulate pieces such as Retreasion, in which a
simple piano pattern and exotic chanting conjure up a telluric arrangement.
Throughout his broad stylistic range, Napolitano displays a keen sense of the
evocative power of melody, whether in the
melancholy accordion-driven elegy Ringing In The New Year
or in the Pink Floyd-ian melodrama of East River
or in the funereal hymn-like The Better The Lonely.
Occasionally he can harness the power of ambience for
darkly nightmarish pieces (Sleepy), but more often his moments of
depression hark back to well-established traditions
(the Neil Young-ish country-rock dirge Holding On To Yourself,
the distorted psychedelic blues Look At Your Shoes).
The live band also includes Kieran Mulvaney, Jordan Young and Ed Gorch of
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