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Design By Humans
Published On: Wed, Jun 28th, 2017

Slowdive: Self-Titled

Slowdive
Slowdive
(Dead Records)

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If you’ve been following Slowdive since their inception in 1989, you’ll know that they had a rough ride when their sophomore album, Souvlaki (which included several collaborations with Brian Eno) was dismissed by critics, with no help from their US label SBK, who pulled funding for the tour and left the band holding the bag. Despite this, they tried to roll with the punches by releasing Pygmalion, which experimented with a more stripped-down aesthetic, only to be dropped from their label. By this point, several of Slowdive’s members had split off into a variety of intriguing side projects on the 4AD label, including Mojave 3, Monster Movie, and Televise.

So this is the first time we’ve heard from the band as a whole, regrouped, out from under the Britpop shadow of the 90s and all previous expectations. There’s a certain bravado and wisdom to this album that I think can only come from fighting the ever-changing beast that is the music industry, while every member of the band tries something different during a 20-year hiatus. On tracks like the poppy “Star Roving” and “Don’t Know Why,” the faster tempo serves as a way to ground the listener amidst the washes of lush guitars and breathy vocals. “Sugar For The Pill” is a slow, simple interlude. The last track, “Falling Ashes,” features a sparse piano, layered vocals, and not much else, and it’s beautiful.

The album as a whole fits in seamlessly with the indie and shoegaze bands of today, but with an air of having been around the block a few times. It’s almost as if they never broke up in the first place. Instead, it’s like they picked up where they left off, and they do it well.

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Slowdive: Self-Titled