Saturday, July 29, 2006


Well. You are spared an essay-length diatribe on the subject of today's band since I managed to delete all but the first paragraph of this write-up when I went back to fix an error. So, back to the drawing board. Here goes:

This is another of those bands (like Radiohead) that I know full well I saw live several times when I was around 15/16 years old, but (due to the amnesia-inducing powers of cider) whose performances I can remember nothing about. So while I can tell you I was right there at the front when Slowdive played in some of my (and their) favourite local dives, I wouldn't be able to describe the experience for you even under hypnosis.

Like most of the original crop of what came to be known as shoegaze bands, Slowdive emerged from England's Thames Valley, formed in the town of Reading by childhood friends Rachel Goswell and Neil Halstead along with Nick Chaplin, Christian Savill and Adrian Sell (quickly replaced by Simon Scott on drums) and taking their name from a Siouxsie and the Banshees song. They signed to the now-legendary Creation Records, putting out three EPs which were received very positively by the UK music press, followed by their debut album, 1991's Just For a Day which met a more lukewarm response, mainly due to the fact that the media's ever-limited attention span was increasingly concentrating on all things grunge by this point.

This song is taken from the band's second proper studio album (and probably their best known), Souvlaki, released in 1993. It came out as a single, on the Outside Your Room EP, and is three minutes and fifty seconds of blissful perfection, to my mind marking the point where shoegaze became pop, and none the worse for its accessibility.

Despite the relative success (in the UK, at least) of Souvlaki, the shoegaze scene's days were already numbered and the band failed to either break America or follow up on Souvlaki's success with their third studio album, Pygmalion; they were dropped in 1995 by Creation shortly after its release. Neil Halstead, Rachel Goswell and Ian McCutcheon (who had replaced Simon Scott on drums after his departure in 1994) went on to form Mojave 3, signing to that other bastion of all things shoegaze, 4AD, while Christian Savill formed Monster Movie.

You can find plenty of information about Slowdive on this fan site, and there's a MySpace page devoted to them too.

MP3: Alison


4casey4 said...

Now that I read this again, I have to say... You need to do more write-ups. This really is an interesting read. Thank you!!

Lizzy said...

i think some (or one?) of these guys are in a band called Televise now. They're wonderful.

Jacklyn Hyde said...

Ooooo, good pick on this one! You two DO manage to find the gems out there.

Juanjo said...