British indie-shoegazing band Slowdive is back with their first new material in over twenty years. Last year, there were reports that the band reunited and were back in the studio writing and recording new music. This proved to be true earlier this year, with the release of two new singles, "Star Roving" and "Sugar for the Pill", and news of a forthcoming album. Fans will remember that the band’s last new material came in the form of 1995’s sparse, dreamlike and slightly experimental Pygmalion, and their final four-track 5EP. Over the next several years, the band reinvented itself with a more folk-like, stripped down, back-to-basics sound under the name Mojave 3. Band members Rachel Goswell and Neil Halstead also released a few solo albums under their own names. It wasn’t until a few years ago, that Slowdive reunited for a series of live performances across the globe, with a focus on their existing back catalog of songs.
Filling the Slowdive band roster this time around are Neil Halstead (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Rachel Goswell (vocals, guitar, tambourine), Nick Chaplin (bass), Christian Savill (guitar), and Simon Scott (drums). Despite the two decades that have elapsed since they last recorded their distinct and immediately recognizable sound, these two new tracks clearly paint a picture of a band that has gracefully continued from where they left off – specifically, building upon the sound, energy, and atmosphere that defined their early days (e.g., Just for a Day (1991), Souvlaki (1993), early EP's). To this day, those early Slowdive releases still hold a solid spot on my “Desert Island Discs” list. It’s music that seems timeless in a way, and feels like curling up on a cozy, comfy sofa and daydreaming.
Both “Star Roving” and “Sugar for the Pill” are fresh, strong and polished Slowdive tracks. “Star Roving” is warm and upbeat, with melodic, soothing vocals that glide atop soaring, swirling and layered guitars. The gorgeous, euphoric “Sugar for the Pill” features delicate, hushed and ethereal vocals over a subdued, fluttering soundscape with warm bursts of pulsating, hypnotic guitars: “Sugar for the pill, you know it's just the way things are | Cannot buy the sun, this jealousy will break the whole.”
SLOWDIVE "Sugar for the Pill" (Official Video)
With eight new tracks, Slowdive’s new, self-titled album is set for May 5 worldwide release on Dead Oceans records. The band is currently touring the US and Canada in May, before embarking on a string of worldwide dates and festival appearances throughout the year. Go see them if you can! I first saw Slowdive perform in Chicago (Cabaret Metro, 1994) during their Souvlaki promotional tour, and had the fortune of catching one of their reunion performances at The Vic Theatre (Chicago) twenty years later (2014). Until the new album is released, check out the official videos for “Sugar for the Pill” (above) and “Star Roving” (below).
SLOWDIVE "Star Roving" (Official Video)