Slowdive - Slowdive
It has been 22 years since Slowdive have released an album and since that time shoegaze has waned in popularity to almost dire levels. The genre caught a wave (no pun intended) but really failed to change enough to keep listeners on board. New albums would come out, but they would be exactly the same as what other bands had done and didn't allow for new elements to come in to breathe new life. However Slowdive have managed to do that on this new self-titled album. There is a bombardment on the senses throughout Slowdive with the band creating these trance inducing soundscapes complete with different structures and shapes. The album feels just as visual as it does musical a hallmark of shoegaze that is one of it's more impressive. On lead single "Start Roving" we do get an inkling of shoegaze's hallmark fuzz but it is used so sparingly and almost like a distant memory rather than a central element of the track. All of the tracks are well over four minutes which does give the band a chance to really play around during the track and give it many different iterations, but at times it can be a bit annoying that a song just keeps going. "Sugar for the Pill" however is a track that in breaking the rules of the genre allows it to really soar and is one of their most pop ready songs to date.
Perhaps a reason for naming the album after the band is they saw this record as a chance to push reset and alter whichever direction their last record may have been taking them. This album despite the track length, feels so much more focused than their previous two. They have a direction on each track and rather than wander around in a haze actually make a point to get there. On "Go Get It" the band move from quiet to loud so seamlessly making for a really great listening experience. Shoegaze has always felt like very Weed heavy music, meant for just kind of laying back and spacing out, but the focus on this record is so much more precise, there simply is not space for fuzz heavy meandering. The lyrics often do get lost in their mumbled delivery which can be a bit frustrating at times, especially on "Go Get It". In the end however this record shows a maturity and patience that few band ever get to reach. Slowdive, and this record show what a truly great comeback can look like if you are willing to really put in the effort. They have.
8.2 out of 10