ALBUM OF THE MONTH: Prioritise Pleasure by Self Esteem (August 2022)

WORTH A LOOK?: ****1/2

TRACKLIST: I’m Fine; Fucking Wizardry; Hobbies 2; Prioritise Pleasure; I Do This All The Time; Moody; Still Reigning; How Can I Help You?; It’s Been A While; The 345; John Elton; You Forever; Just Kids

A cheat, perhaps? It’s taken us a while to ride the buzz to this sophomore album but thanks to a friend’s recommendation this has barely been off our playlist all summer.

  • Read on for reasons including how we’d love for Prioritise Pleasure to win this year’s Mercury Prize

Rotherham’s Rebecca Taylor formed folk duo Slow Club in Sheffield in 2006 and at 35 has waited rather longer than she deserves for this album to be shortlisted for the Mercury Prize to be announced 8 September 2022.

Self Esteem mixes the classic 70s songwriting style of Kate Bush, with the 90s narrative of Jarvis Cocker at his most Pulp direct yet isn’t afraid to throw in some 00s Madonna hooks into the mix.

It’s perhaps the care shown for the listener on The 345 with: ‘I just wanna let you know there’s a point in you’ which just stands out as something everyone needs to hear at some point in their lives and some of us more than others.

But our way into this album was with the part spoken-word and uplifting single I Do This All The Time which reminds us of the storytelling of Jarvis Cocker in part because Rebecca’s accent is similarly located but because it’s also unafraid to cut to the quick of a relationship – and often not a happy 1 – in the same way that Pulp at their very best were.

We’ve been listening to it during the London heatwave and also in the Barcelona summer and so the following line can’t help but remind of less successful relationships: ‘You see, when the air warms up like this/It brings every single memory of you back and it makes me so sick, I can’t breathe/ Except I am still breathing, aren’t I?’

It’s the inhalation around the last line that makes it so important. You treated me bad, I was so upset but I can make it through this – and I have.

Elsewhere the advice seems informed about social media but also realistic about relationships and the illusion that marriage can be: ‘Stop trying to have so many friends/Don’t be intimidated by all the babies they have/Don’t be embarrassed that all you’ve had is fun/Prioritise pleasure.’ and ‘Getting married isn’t the biggest day of your life/All the days that you get to have are big.’

It’s an astonishing song that could completely dominate an album not quite so filled with hidden gems but Prioritise Pleasure boasts jewels galore and currently we’re in awe of the big pop hooks of Moody.

The friend who recommended the album said their favourite song continued to shift throughout continued listening of it and we can absolutely see that.

We missed Self Esteem at Mighty Hoopla and do so again at Southsea’s glorious Victorious Festival later this month but have seen her festival iPlayer set and look set to pop our cherry at an Eventim Apollo gig next year.

In the meantime, we’ve everything crossed for her to win next month’s Mercury.

  • Main picture via Facebook courtesy Self Esteem Tickets Have you heard any of these songs or seen any of these shows? Let us know what you thought in the comments below.
  • Enjoyed this review? Follow monstagigz on Twitter @NeilDurham, email and check us out on Instagram and Facebook

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