I woke up to the new Slowdive today, and I can guarantee it’ll go on repeat straightaway. It’s astonishing that a band can come back from the throes of ridicule and rejection. Most bands didn’t survive the death of the Shoegaze genre. While some of the textures and boy/girl harmony blending of the genre were being nicked by the burgeoning Brit Pop scene, the death of shoegaze scene experienced an end swift as a guillotine at the hands of a perpetually unimpressed music press. Bands such as the Boo Radleys, Chapterhouse, and Pale Saints attempted to make a shift to keep up with the sudden change in fan tastes with unfortunate, sloppy, trippy hoppy, and bubble gum pop results. There was an unusually timely death to the scene, whereas most fads and genres fade off the grid only to be remembered by the most ardent of fans.
Flash forward 23 years. With other notable dream pop bands like Ride, Lush, and My Bloody Valentine recently releasing music and touring, fans have been trepidatious navigating the suspicious and lackluster output of bands who are gunning for nostalgia. Pleasing lifelong fans and music lovers from a new generation is a tricky endeavor. So far, MBV has released the most substantial music (the self released MBV, 2013) after a long break. While Ride and Lush had some high and low moments while returning to the spotlight, it’s Slowdive who emerge with grace, adoration, a damn fine set of new tunes, not to mention a flawless live show. So, where to start with Slowdive’s long overdue return?
Their fourth, self titled album begins with “Slomo,” a synth-gaze warm hug from an old friend. I thought it was too good to be real. Could they really be back? Will they stay? With “Star Roving,” they definitely prove they will. When the song came out several weeks ago, it was also noted by fans throughout social media that it’s their fastest song to date. It’s a straight forward rocker with a lush backdrop of indecipherable vocals and a dash of oohs and ahhhs. “Don’t Know Why” frenetically shimmers with a mix of tempos and pays homage to Cocteau Twins’ unpredictable, gorgeous bass lines. “Sugar for the Pill” is classic Slowdive down to the tone of the guitar introduction.
Side two continues with another upbeat number, the boy/girl, effects laden “Everyone Knows,” perhaps the most “shoegazey” number on the record. “No Longer Making Time” is the only song which carbon copys the younger work of the band, specifically “When the Sun Hits,” especially noticeable in the chorus. For the record, I’M NOT COMPLAINING – I’m all about it. “Go Get It” and the somber “Falling Ashes” have a Souvlaki era quality to them, with the latter acting as this album’s “Dagger.” …aaand starting the album over again!
So we say, yes- “Go Get It” right away!!
Amazing press photo: Ingrid Pop