Hailing from South-West London, Slaney Bay are a trio of childhood friends consisting of vocalist/guitarist Caitlin Whitley, lead guitarist William Nicola-Thompson and bassist Joel Martin. The band have already made a big impression in the capital, with a series of singles and high-profile support slots with the likes of Bleach Lab, Sinead O’Brien, and Low Hummer. Last week the band shared their debut EP, A Life Worth Living, a record they describe as a “coming-of-age diary”, as it explores, “the hardships of growing up”.
A Life Worth Living comes roaring out of the speakers, as the opening track, I Could Love You Better, finds Caitlin’s crystalline vocals singing out atop a backing of bruising drums and chiming guitars as she shares a tale of the risk and reward that comes with admitting your feelings for someone. From there Hot Glue has an infectiously sunny guitar riff sounding more West Coast than West London, while Take Your Time has a touch of Remote Part-era Idlewild as it dissects the end of a friendship, “go ahead and take your time, my friend, maybe with time, we’ll get there again”. Recent single LS6, a nod to the postcode of Leeds’ classically student area, is a coming-of-age tale, celebrating the joys of independence and the terror that comes with starting a new life away from everything you know, “I’m lost on the way, to write a life worth living, or just a page”. While they’re by no means the first band to nod back to the 90s for inspiration, Slaney Bay do seem to have mined a particularly enticing vein of nostalgia. Part of a lineage from The Sundays and Lush through to Best Coast and Alvvays, with a twinkling guitar, and a serenely emotive vocal, Slaney Bay might just be your new favourite band.
FTR: For those who don’t know who are Slaney Bay?
Hello! Cait here! We’re an alt-indie trio from South-West London: Cait on guitar and lead vocals, Joey on bass and backing vocals, and Will on lead guitar. We’ve been best friends since nearly 4 years old. Since then, we’ve developed ‘Hive Mind’ and can finish eachothers’… (Joey interrupts- “sentences!). Our music is happy-sad, coming of age, and a soundtrack for late night rumination.
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
The first Slaney Bay show was only a year ago, which is mad to think about. It was at The Victoria in Dalston, and we had a blast. We played with our mate Josh Walsh on drums, and added a dramatic extra minute onto our closing song, ‘The House Across the Street’, for Will to riff around on guitar and significantly develop his callouses.
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
I’d say one reason is that we lack talent in other areas of art, which would make it harder! But the more important reason is that we’ve always been drawn to music. Nothing evokes as much emotion and passion as music does. Even as kids, Joey and I would be dancing around with tennis rackets, pretending they were electric guitars. There’s nothing better than the rush of coming up with a new song idea, or seeing someone singing along to your song in the crowd. Or reaching milestones like being played on BBC 1! It’s so special sharing that with your best friends, and seeing eachothers’ progression as musicians. We love it. It’s so rewarding.
FTR: What can people expect from the Slaney Bay live show?
You can expect a lot of energy. Joey doing a classic MTV music video-esque bass jump. Cait suddenly going from whispers to screams. Will chugging a Guinness in the background. And then all of us at the bar after! I genuinely think it’s the nicest thing that people spend their hard-earned money to see artists live. It’s a massive compliment. We absolutely love it.
FTR: What’s next for Slaney Bay?
Our debut EP, ‘A Life Worth Living’ is out now. We worked really hard on it, and are buzzing for it to enter the world. It’s a 5-track, unfiltered look into our experience of growing up. All the guilt, thrill and revelations that come with it. We’ll also be playing these new tracks at our upcoming shows.
They Listen To...
Tame Impala – List of People (To Try and Forget About).
An incredible psychedelic B-side from Currents. Swirling synths and 2000s esque fuzzy synth. A song for a roof-down, night time drive through LA!
Holly Humberstone – Scarlett.
I think I (Cait) listened to this song about 10 times yesterday. Earworm vocal melodies with a sweet, supportive sentiment towards her best friend. Coming-of-age in a nutshell.
Yuck – Suck.
One of the first songs that Joey and I ever played together. A comforting yet melancholic indie-rock track that reminds me of being 17.
The Maccabees – Grew Up At Midnight.
The very best of ‘happy-sad’ music. A huge influence for us. Such a powerful release of emotional in the outro. INCREDIBLE.
Phoebe Bridgers – I Know The End.
Anthemic, theatrical indie-rock. Phoebe’s vocal performance- building from low register whispers into pained screams- guides the listeners’ emotions at every moment. And what a way to end a playlist…with a direct nod in the finale title.
A Life Worth Living is out now. For more information on Slaney Bay visit https://slaneybay.co.uk/.