Review Summary: Listen close, it's all in pain.Pygmalion
is an anomaly in the shoegaze world – not of the lush dream pop sound that Slowdive were associated with in their earliest years; not of the harsh density My Bloody Valentine were famous for, or as accessible Ride’s style was prior to their full-on excursion into mediocre britpop. Resulting from the exit of drummer Simon Scott, Pygmalion
marked the definite end of Slowdive as we once knew them for nearly two decades, yet in their swan song, delivered their masterpiece that transcended the likes of Souvlaki
and became something far more innovative, arguably being part of the first wave of post-rock, which included other renowned artists such as Talk Talk, Bark Psychosis, Swans, Slint and Labradford to name a few.
, mainly written by members Neil Halstead and Rachel Goswell, takes after a rather Enoesque influence at first glance before coming into its own and advancing beyond their inspiration into more experimental dwellings. Nothing on the record remotely resembles what came before or what would come after – it simply is isolated to this very record and is unique. While it may be incredibly outlandish to say, it’s not a stretch to say that absolutely nothing
in 1995 sounded like the meditative ten-minute opener “Rutti”, the repetitively hazy “Crazy for You” or the organic, trance-like “Blue Skied An’ Clear”; and I’d be hard-pressed to say otherwise, if the delicate balladry showcased on closer “All of Us” is anything to go by. Throughout its fifty-minute runtime, Pygmalion
openly relies upon its fragile soundscape that leaves very little tension to capture its audience, although a little patience is required from its listener before it all ultimately comes together as a whole. Pygmalion
, in a way, is tragically beautiful. It captures a band in full disintegration but at the peak of their powers as well; its qualities lie within the sparsely ambient landscape, and whereas so much was present on Just For A Day
to keep the listener occupied, Pygmalion
rids itself of all detriments to captivate its audience with almost nothing
to work with. Slowdive as a band (or what had now become a duo at this point) had reached the pinnacle of what dream pop could possibly achieve – and as soon as they reached that high, they were gone.