The shoe-gazing pioneers Slowdive consisting of Neil Halstead, Christian Savill, Nick Chaplin, Rachel Goswell and Simon Scott have just released their long awaited self-titled fourth album Slowdive, their first offering since 1995 and it does not disappoint.
‘Slomo’ is an expansive and atmospheric opener. The guitar sequence is beautifully subtle and emotional as it builds to a vocal awash with reverb and echo. The tonality and texture is evocative of infinity and space. High-end bass grounds the flight of fancy ever so slightly but to great effect.
As the album progresses, ‘Star Roving’ hits a bit heavier, built around a melody that New Order would be jealous of. This is an aural assault that keeps on building and shoes will well and truly be gazed at. ‘Don’t Know Why’ has frenetic percussion that gives way to a half-time beat, adding a dynamism to the overall sound of the record. The lush vocal harmonising and never-ending guitar loop lifts the song into deeper realms of sonic bliss.
‘Sugar for the Pill’ has a bass build up not unlike The Stone Roses. It pulses throughout, effectively bringing the album in a different direction. The production here is perfection and it is a stand out track. ‘Everyone Knows’ keeps the melody quotient high and this is just an album that drags you in and won’t let go.
‘No Longer Making Time’ starts off as a sad affair with its sparse straight beat and vocal delivery but soon turns back to that wall of sound and harmony that the band mines so well. ‘Go Get It’ has that most beautiful of things: fuzz bass, and it does the ears and soul good to hear it. The guitar comes and goes in stabs as the band mess with time signatures and echo to create a most satisfying soundscape. ‘Falling Ashes’ opens with a haunting piano motif, harmonics, plucked guitar strings and a chord progression that most bands would kill for. With the lyrics, “Boy, I’m the man, you’re the ghost in this town, Could this be it, your final words?” there is a suggestion of the band’s reckoning with the contemplation of life and of the passage of time. It is a song that aches under the weight of melancholia but in a gorgeous sense.
After a twenty two year absence, Slowdive have produced an album that lives long in the memory and is worth a moment or two of your time.