Slowdive
Slowdive


4.2
excellent

Review

by Ben Kuettel STAFF
May 10th, 2017 | 414 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Slowdive make a resounding comeback with one of the strongest shoegaze albums of recent years, showing modern acts how it’s done and reminding listeners why they’re considered among the best of the genre’s heyday.

Following the return of My Bloody Valentine a few years back, their peers, Slowdive, have also decided to come out of the woodwork for a long-awaited return. A new generation of fans now exist, just like they do for My Bloody Valentine, and the phenomenon of the Internet since the release of their last record has brought a new, revolutionary meaning to word-of-mouth transmission. They have returned with a renewed sense of inspiration after two decades of pursuing other projects like Mojave 3. All of the time passed since their initial heyday during the height of shoegaze has resulted in gaining even more songwriting experience and maturity. They are back with more to say to their long-time fans, and welcome a new generation hungry for fresh material from one of the original greats in the genre.

The appropriately titled Slowdive takes the qualities of the band’s first two releases to streamline, expand, and freshen that sound for the twenty-first century. It acts as the true follow-up to the band’s masterpiece Souvlaki after nearly twenty-five years since its release. In an attempt to please newcomers and established fans alike, the album succeeds at exploring new realms for Slowdive. This isn't done in the abstract manner of previous effort Pygmalion from 1995, technically the predecessor of this. A follow-up to that musical direction may or may not come at some point, but this album is largely not meant to continue in that minimalistic, ambient excursion. It can suit a wide array of emotions and listening moods, having the traditional slow-building, hazy tracks and more up-tempo ones as well.

The beautiful seven-minute epic “Slomo” was a bold choice to begin the album. A looping drum beat and bass line kick it off with atmospherics, dreamy guitars, and vocals all gradually swirling into the mix. It’s a layered, hazy masterpiece that carries a hypnotic quality while still varying up the sounds to prevent stagnation. This is the mantra of the entire album, being surprisingly dynamic with nothing sounding out of place. Every note played feels like it belongs, and avoids coming across as gimmicky or pandering to a specific audience. Following the opener is the band’s most playful song to date, “Star Roving,” a delightful flirtation with post-punk revival and one of the most rewarding surprises on the record.

Much of the album explores different moods, but exorcises some of the bleakness that can be found on the first three records. Still, much of it carries a melancholic tone, like the wistful "No Longer Making Time," and “Sugar for the Pill” in particular dripping with regret. Gently picked guitar melodies support Neil Halstead’s despondent singing for an overwhelmingly sorrowful atmosphere. It’s a perfect example of proving that the band have not lost their emotional resonance one bit in the past two decades. Rachel Goswell’s vocals have also aged like a fine wine over the years, with her angelic singing being essential to the success of tracks like “Don't Know Why,” “Everyone Knows,” and “Go Get It.” The vocal harmonies between her and Halstead are frequently the centerpiece of Slowdive, as they were on the previous records.

Slowdive is a triumphant return for the shoegaze veterans, being a victorious blueprint for how a band should return after a long hiatus. It introduces new possibilities for their sound while still sounding familiar enough to fit in comfortably with the rest of their discography. What’s most impressive about Slowdive is how fresh and striking it sounds in its own right. The band cover all the bases that they could have, even acknowledging their misunderstood masterpiece Pygmalion in the beautiful minimalist piano ballad “Falling Ashes.” This long-awaited comeback album stands on its own as a remarkable achievement for a band that had to earn their legacy over time, and the love that this album has received reaffirms that legacy, and proves that Slowdive are still capable of exceeding expectations for a modern, invigorating comeback album that cements their talent and emotional resonance.




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user ratings (358)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
May 9th 2017


15998 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2 | Sound Off

Thanks to Johnny for proofreading.



This one's a winner, and is available to listen to on Spotify.

Digging: Brand New - Science Fiction

Wadlez
May 10th 2017


4913 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice review, the album does a good job of encapsulating their entire career into 8 new songs. Good for old and new listeners. Could see this anywhere in the 3.5-4.5 range in time.



Fav song Slomo

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
May 10th 2017


17629 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

cool review. Go Get It is so killer

Digging: Milo - who told you to think?????!?!???!???!???!

zakalwe
May 10th 2017


22350 Comments


Album is class

Tyler.
May 10th 2017


12880 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

d o n t l e t m e d o w n

SandwichBubble
May 10th 2017


3067 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm glad I predicted correctly with this release :D



And I'm glad this has a great review to go with it

Digging: Anima (Germany) - Musik Fur Alle

wwf
May 10th 2017


5457 Comments


production is so early 90s

Digging: Dua Lipa - Dua Lipa

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
May 10th 2017


17629 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

huh wonder why

wwf
May 10th 2017


5457 Comments


haha that wasn't supposed to be a mindblowing observation

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
May 10th 2017


17629 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

you blow my mind every day tho bb

Chortles
May 10th 2017


20464 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

slomo is dopeee

Lythelus
May 10th 2017


6 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ayye great review.



So great hearing quality shoegaze again, been hitting up some shoegaze classics after listening to this quality album!

Tunaboy45
May 10th 2017


15224 Comments


Really need to check this, great review too/

Digging: Steven Wilson - To the Bone

guitarded_chuck
May 10th 2017


13347 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good review dude, had real low expectations for this but pleasantly surprised by the response, will listen to tonight

JigglyPDiddy
May 10th 2017


3164 Comments


Is it as good as Souvlaki?

Wadlez
May 10th 2017


4913 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Not too far off

JigglyPDiddy
May 10th 2017


3164 Comments


Souvlaki is basically all I've attentively listened to by them, so might check this out.

theBoneyKing
May 10th 2017


10827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Excited to hear this once I've checked Pygmalion.

Great review Talons!

Digging: Alcest - Souvenirs d'un autre monde

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
May 10th 2017


18722 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really awesome album. Nice review man!

dreamgauze
May 10th 2017


908 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

album is dope



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