For the first time in 22 years, the shoegaze heavyweights in ‘Slowdive’, are back with another album. Their second album “Souvlaki” debuted in 1992 after their 1991 album “Just For A Day”. “Souvlaki” essentially established the band with the reputation they have today in the underground music scene, gaining acclaim from critics and music fans alike. The dreamy sounds on this album evolved to become a benchmark in the genre of shoegaze. Their follow up album “Pygmalion” was a decent album but it lacked the progression in sound and passion that “Souvlaki” presented. Now the year is 2017 and the band is back riding their wave of underground success in the recent years do to the rise of more modern shoegaze acts. The band’s first single from the new self titled album, “Star Roving”, was uninspired. The droning guitars at the beginning of the song pretty much continue in the background of the track throughout its entirety, minus two breaks in the middle and end of the song. The first break was refreshing but short lived, followed by the same exact same melody and progression as the beginning of the song. It was far too repetitive. Riding the wave of nostalgia and denial a good amount of people seemed to ignore the looming problems that would only grow to be more apparent on the self titled album’s entirety, in hope that the band would deliver a refreshing blast from the past in a genre where the majority of the band’s lack any distinct sound.
At first listen “Slowdive” wasn’t as bad as I first thought, but after revisiting their previous works it became clear how little the album brought to the table. Minus the vocals of Rachel Goswell and Neil Halstead, the band just sounds like one of the many copy and paste shoegaze acts of today. Nothing distinctly says “this is Slowdive”. If I heard this music in the background of the room I probably wouldn’t have guessed that it was Slowdive’s comeback album. It feels like less of a comeback for the band and more of a reminder that they still exist. Most of the tracks on the album are repetitive, indistinct, and lacking passion. It became more painfully obvious the more I listened to it that Slowdive wasn’t bringing anything new to the table for the band or for the genre. Anything that could be considered different for the band compared to their previous works has already been done in the last 22 years by pretty much every shoegaze band since. Slowdive relied far too much on their name and reputation for the release of this album. The first track “Slomo” is my personal favorite but I can’t say the band is pushing any boundaries or delivering their full passion in it. The echoed, hardly distinct vocals are easy on the ears but remind me too much of other acts such as “Cold Cave.” The low point on the album is definitely “Sugar For The Pill.” This is probably Slowdive’s most uninspired and repetitive track in their discography. That being said the rest of the album is pretty forgettable. I can see it serving as a good intro for new fans of the genre or the band but as soon as they get a taste of the bands older works, and other artists, the album will probably be quickly forgotten. Slowdive demonstrates that they still haven’t lost their talent as musicians but fails to deliver a cohesive vision as artists. “Slowdive” is available on CD, vinyl, and all digital formats thanks to Dead Oceans.
Written by- Joe Collins.