With the release of Slowdive’s self titled last week and the positive response the album recieved, I thought I would review and analyze their first TRUE self titled album, technically an EP. Slowdive took influence from the ethereal sounds of Cocteau Twins and fellow shoegazers, My Bloody Valentine and Ride, who were releasing material a year or two before this EP dropped. (Ride released three EPs in 1990, which is impressive.) Slowdive was not the first act to start playing shoegaze music, they are however considered to be one of the three most influencial shoegaze acts, the other two being the bands I previously mentioned above, My Bloody Valentine and Ride. I think Slowdive has attempted to somewhat sweep this EP’s existence under the rug, it is absent from the band’s Soundcloud, Bandcamp, and Spotify pages and I had to resort to streaming it off YouTube.
The opening track of this EP, and of Slowdive’s entire discography, is called… “Slowdive”. The track begins abruptly with a wave of thick, noisy, droning guitar sound before the dreamy, harmonized vocals of Rachel Goswell and Neil Halstead slowly ease into the track, initiating Slowdive’s career as a skilled shoegazing act. “Slowdive” itself is actually based upon a dream that the band’s bassist, Nick Chaplin, experienced and also simultaneously named after a Siouxsie and the Banshee’s single called… “Slowdive”. This is fine, the name Slowdive is very representative of the band’s very surreal, slow, dreamy instrumentation that is still present on the band’s latest 2017 self titled album, and would also influence dozens of bands to pick up an instrument create their own sonic dreamscapes. The other two tracks on this album, “Avalyn I” and “Avalyn II” are actually the exact same song except that “Avalyn I” has lyrics and is only four minutes in length, while “Avalyn II” is a full on instrumental that is double the length of the first Avalyn. This is not actually as bad as it reads out to be. Due to shoegaze being the wall of thick dreamy sound it is, and not mainstream pop music, this will not bother you at all. Personally I love the way the tracklisting is, because the intro to both songs is the same so that resonating guitar actually becomes a familiar friend after you listen to the album a few times. It is very easy to lose yourself completely in this album, especially if you are completely immersing yourself in this music as you listen to it.
So, with Slowdive’s first release being a self titled EP, and their most recent release being a self titled album, this question arises. Is Slowdive attempting to lie their career to rest after 27 years where it started? Or can we expect more releases from these influential shoegazers in the future? I would hope to see some new music come out, but at the same time I am happy with all that Slowdive has given fans of shoegaze and dream pop.
Release Date: 5 November 1990
Genres: Dream Pop, Shoegaze.
- Avalyn I
- Avalyn II
Track Highlights: It is a three song EP, the whole thing is a highlight…
i. e. 8.9/10