Review Summary: A little slower, please.Slowdive
is one of the most fitting band names in the music industry. Imagine leaping down a waterfall in slow motion, finally splashing through the bustling waters below to continue to swim elegantly down the river as pristine thoughts of peace relax your mind, and eventually you fall asleep on the shore in the warming rays of the sun after surfacing. "Just For a Day" could easily be the soundtrack to an event like that; a reason why anybody who enjoys simple relaxation can find enjoyment in Slowdive's pre-Souvlaki release. Much of the album arguably sounds alike, but when one experiences a meditative state of mind the bodily functions slow down and are hardly as active as they would be during busy times. Slowdive encompasses that quite well on "Just For a Day" and it goes to show that shoegaze can be more than emotions rushing through your body to your guitar, it can actually serve as an organized piece of music that represents an ideal.
Watch the waves so far away
They're washing 'cross the paths that I have made
Leaving all my sins, I turn away
Like soaring birds I watch my sorrows play
The lyrics are monotone-friendly and singable. But they are deeper than that, to the sixth track 'Waves' these words are a simple metaphor representing the cleansing attitude Slowdive has in their music, as if they sat on a beach and watched the tide come up and wash away all the wrongdoings and mistakes they left behind in their lives. To believe you are above your sins is to feel you have a bird's eye view of blemished society and its participants running wild with worry and tormenting themselves over inevitable yet troubling events, which the final lyric nails appropriately. Musically this represents a cathartic atmosphere intended by the band, and it would be criminal to claim they did not achieve that.
'Spanish Air' and 'Celia's Dream' administer the initial effects of extremely slow shoegaze, the tracks while failing to experiment will attach the listener to the harmonies of the music. In other words, its difficult not to sit back and relax as the first few songs of 'Just For a Day' start to take hold of your ears. It seems the band felt close to a spiritual epiphany during the writing of this album, or at least aware that one day they might have one. In an almost angelic style 'Spanish Air' caresses the eardrums with displays of fluent knowledge of the peaceful side of human behavior. To keep this up through an entire album is difficult when you take melody and appeal into account, but 'Spanish Air', 'Celia's Dream' and especially
'Catch The Breeze' show us that this will hardly be a scarce accomplishment throughout "Just For a Day".
Hey, are you feeling something new
Just watch the rain, it helps in all you do
The breeze, it blows, it blows everything
And I, I want the world to pass
And I, I want the sun to shine
You can believe in everything
You can believe it all
'Catch The Breeze' is a song that shares the disheveled shoegaze style of the genres most famous product, My Bloody Valentine.
With frantic lyrics sung over a relaxing and almost poppy melody 'Catch The Breeze' is one of the finer songs on the album, it talks about the same thought clearing subject as 'Waves' does, however this time around Slowdive sings on more of a serious, relative note rather than a metaphorical one. The breeze, it blows, it blows everything
is a line exemplifying the lyricist's view of change and the cause of change in the world around them, and that they desire this breeze to keep blowing along like this album does, turning the world in the direction it must turn.
The reason why
You're leasing time
The sadman calls
He calls for you
But what is a beautiful catharsis without a fitting ending? On 'The Sadman' Slowdive shows they are aware this leap into the river of happiness and relaxation must end somewhere so the music begins to take a more epic turn in the direction of a buildup to 'Primal', the final track on the album. 'Primal' is the kind of song fitting for the ending credits of a movie, it adheres to the blueprint 'The Sadman' set up with its connotations to death and/or sleep, and while it definitely retains the laid back style of all the previous tracks, its singing and slightly sped up instrumentals feel as though intensity is beginning to take hold as the final moments of your consciousness creep away.
It can get old, or it can remain a classic in the eyes of any placid music enthusiast. Either way to listen to "Just For a Day" means that you are undertaking Slowdive not only on a musical level, but a contagiously expressive one as well. Catharsis, realization, wiping the slate clean, cleansing your body and your mind are themes that are not far away from the lyrics and peaceful melodies on "Just For a Day". A recommended listen for any fan of articulate music.