sun 23/06/2024

Album: Slowdive - Everything is Alive | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Slowdive - Everything is Alive

Album: Slowdive - Everything is Alive

The shoegazing titans continue doing what they’ve always done

Slowdive's 'Everything is Alive': unfinished business is being addressed

Everything is Alive opens with all that could be wanted from a Slowdive album. “Shanty” is just-under six minutes of out-of-focus, shimmering aural fog in which guitars throb and drums are a distant pulse. An acid-house-type heartbeat is offset against a harpsichord-like refrain recalling Broadcast. Lines drift in about a burning candle and the arrival of night. It all seems to be about the passing of time.

Text-book Slowdive then, on a line between their 1993 second album Souvlaki and its 1995 follow-up Pygmalion. The latter became their last release before they split the same year. They reformed in 2014 and subsequently issued the eponymous Slowdive album in 2017. Everything is Alive is their second post-reunion album, and fifth overall.

Continuing with any band after a return is not necessarily straightforward: nostalgists want to relive what they originally experienced. The novelty of the comeback wears off. Equally, bands wish to create new music and move forward from where they left off so a reinstatement ceases solely being about the past. And with Slowdive, there any chance of development in the mid 1990s was curtailed when their label, Creation Records, dropped them soon after the release of Pygmalion, triggering their split. As “Shanty” attests, much of what’s heard on Everything is Alive is in line with the Slowdive of 1995 and before. Unfinished business is being addressed. Confoundingly, the form of shoegazing they helped define – and are sticking with – sounds delightfully fresh.

It is also frequently beautiful. Haunting too, though “Andalucia Plays'” lyrics of "You are my angel, Wearing your favourite shirt, French cloth and polka dot” are jarringly direct so interrupt the spell. Balance this misstep with the rolling, powerpop-refracting immediacy of “Kisses” and it’s clear this band is doing what it wants. The word "dogged" sums it up.


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