Along with My Bloody Valentine and Ride, Slowdive is among the most influential of late 80s/early 90s shoegaze bands. Specifically, their 1993 album Souvlaki is considered among the best shoegaze albums ever, along with My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless and Ride’s Nowhere. Whereas the two latter albums draw heavily on distortion and psychedelia, Souvlaki utilized a shimmering, washed out sound accompanied by rich synths and seemingly endless amounts of guitar delay, which is more akin to much of the dream pop and shoegaze we hear today.
After initially reforming in 2014, they decided that there was enough interest to start working on new material, and the culmination of that is Slowdive. Their new self-titled album avoids the experimentation of 1995’s Pygmalion and the growing pains of 1991’s Just For A Day, and continues down the path of Souvlaki with songs like “Everyone Knows” and “Star Roving”. However, the majority of songs on Slowdive are more uptempo and upbeat than anything on Souvlaki.
There are a couple of issues on Slowdive. For one, Neil Halstead’s vocals sound off on several of the tracks. The quiet, soothing style he had with early Slowdive and other projects now occasionally seems unstable, quivering, and unsure on tracks like “Slomo” and “Go Get It”. Another problem is that a few of the tracks just get dragged out. These are typically the tracks that don’t have big hooks to sustain the listener, such as “Slomo” and “Go Get It”. Finally, from oddly muted yet reverbed-out snare drums to distorted hi-hats, the disconnected drum production is poor enough to be distracting on certain tracks. However, this being shoegaze, the drums are usually buried in the mix anyway (which they are here for the most part).
Overall, by listening to Slowdive, one can really hear how the members of Slowdive have grown as musicians. This album is, perhaps, the album that should have always followed Souvlaki.
Recommended If You Like: Mojave 3, Neil Halstead, Catherine Wheel, Cocteau Twins, Stone Roses, My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Minor Victories, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Swervedriver
Recommended Tracks: 2 (Star Roving), 4 (Sugar For The Pill), 5 (Everyone Knows), 6 (No Longer Making Time)
Do Not Play: None
Written by Josh Gaston on 05/03/2017