Friday, 14 April 2017

Track Review: Slowdive - "Star Roving" / "Sugar for the Pill"


When Slowdive announced they were releasing new music, I didn't quite know how to feel. As a monumental fan of Slowdive, new music seemed somewhat out of the question when seeing how many of today's nostalgic renaissance have stumbled. Though, who was I trying to convince.. to me, Slowdive have never been the nostalgic piece in the 90s shoegaze puzzle. They're the everlasting creators of post-Cocteau Twins dream pop; they were and still are the sound of alternative British rock.



"Star Roving" was announced and released somewhat surprisingly in January, and all the fear of expectation instantly fled. This must be my most played song of the decade already, forever on repeat, forever mixed with the hits from Souvlaki, and the anti-pop borderline post-rock Pygmalion which is loved by just about everyone who has taken the decency to listen to "Blue Skied An' Clear" on a blue skied and clear day. "Star Roving" is unlike anything Slowdive have released before, first of all it's furiously fast which screams hit - hit in the shoegazing sense, think "Vapour Trail", "Soon", "When the Sun Hits". The production has been modernised, with Slowdive's core instrumentalists adapting to the clearer, more fine production.


"Sugar for the Pill" is a maturing day job piece binding work from all of Slowdive's history. A very delicate and calming song that is more Pygmalion than expected. It's dissected like many of Slowdive's older more pop structured songs like "Catch the Breeze" - somehow combining the slow tempo soft rock of Coldplay's Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends, with Just for A Day's pop (think Coldplay - "Chinese Sleep Chant" if it was produced by Brian Eno, oh wait.) That fearing but enduring synthesizer / bass makes you realise how suitable it is for Slowdive to return to their creative origins at the same time as Twin Peaks.

It makes you feel like you're still stuck in the 90s but not wanting to escape. The shoegaze comeback (and I mean the shoegaze comeback not the nu-gaze hippie pussy copy cat wankery Americans like to call modern neo-psychedelia,) has been driven by unearthing not so much a genre, but a sound and a way of sounding which struck a chord with kids in the 90s. The very same pleasing sounds have been missed in the decades that passed. Their archaic, experimental, but never punk  creations are a thing of beauty, and we as listeners quite luckily get to partake in this never ending cycle of 90s re-branding for just a little longer. Even if it only lasts a few years, it will be worth it. To hear that opening riff on "Star Roving", to watch as the hair on your arms stick during m b v's "She Found Now", making you think to yourself what the fuck has everyone else been doing since 1995.
-Eddie Gibson

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