Slowdive: Slowdive (Dead Oceans/Rhythmethod)

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Don't Know Why
Slowdive: Slowdive (Dead Oceans/Rhythmethod)

We’ve said it before but it does bear repeating: there seems to be a (welcome) return of shoegaze . . . and when we essayed the absolutely terrific retrospective box set Still in a Dream we specifically mentioned UK band Slowdive with singer Rachel Goswell and “the great Neil Halstead”.

As singer/guitarist Halstead observed some years after Slowdive broke up in the mid Nineties, “Slowdive were never about anything complicated . . . they were all simple songs, just played loudly".

The band re-formed in ’14 . . . and that would be a 20 year absence, so we forgive them taking just three years to release these eight new songs.

If the recent re-formed Jesus and Mary Chain album was more of the same but less so, then this is less of the same, but even more so.

Their archetypal, dense, droning and melodically powerful pop structures delivered with sheetmetal guitars of breadth and depth fairly soars here on songs like the dense Star Roving and the space flight of Don’t Know Why (where Halstead’s high guitar allows it to achieve liftoff before it pulls back into a Chills-like dreamy ballad for a while).

But then there’s the intense forward momentum of Sugar for the Pill which starts off deceptively like something by Mojave 3, the band which came out of Slowdive.

So this vinyl length release is more than just an exercise in repeat-play nostalgia but rather the interesting summation of their previous parts now welded together into something familiar but fresh.

And it ends with the deceptive eight-minute Falling Ashes which opens with a pastoral piano figure and then goes . . .

No spoiler alert this time.

If shoegaze is indeed back as we have suggested, then it is in excellent hands with these guiding godparents.

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