When you’re a fan of shoegaze, an all-consuming, ethereal-laced, distortion-happy subgenre of alternative music, (also referred to “the scene that celebrates itself”), the concept of time is insignificant in relation to its classic and unique softness, noise, introspective demeanor, heavy feedback with abrasive, dreamy guitar effects, and clouded vocals. Pioneer bands like Cocteau Twins, the Jesus and Mary Chain, Lush, Ride, Chapterhouse and My Bloody Valentine all collectively coined the timeless sound in the 80s and 90s while also establishing their own distinguished presence within the underground scene. One inspiring and legendary shoegaze band that every die-hard fan knew and loved: Slowdive. They named the band after a Siouxsie and the Banshees song, and a dream a band member once experienced. While they formed in 1989 and successfully released a few EPs, it wasn’t until 1991 where the world would hear their first official full album Just for a Day, later following by their monumental, unforgettable album Souvlaki (1993) and finally Pygmalion (1995). It was the last we heard the enchantment of Slowdive before they broke off into other bands and solo projects… until now.
Listen: “Star Roving” – Slowdive
On January 12, 2017, Slowdive announced on Facebook that after reuniting in 2014, there has been a plethora of experiences like shows and a “few false starts” to get to the point of releasing new music. They stated, “We really hope folks enjoy it, it’s part of a bunch of new tracks we’ve been working on and it feels as fun, and as relevant playing together as it did when we first started.” And with that, the band – now signed to Dead Oceans – shared their first song in 22 years, “Star Roving.”
Give it away now, girl
Can’t hold on to mine
Every black and white
Secrets of blinking light
And that flying kite
Said she’s feeling warm for everyone tonight
Said she’s feeling good, said she’s feeling good
Right then and there when we clicked on the link, fans were immersed in early ’90s shoegaze nostalgia with Neil Hailstead’s soft and sweet ethereal vocals amongst layers of dream-pop guitar noise. It’s nostalgic, but modern, simple but complex. “Star Roving” invites you to paint a picture of complacent beauty perception through a deeper consciousness.
Slowdive has always created songs with lyrics expressing empathy, hidden pain, and spacey connections that resonate with the listener as it’s equally unified with dreamy, beautiful, melodic vocals and instrumentation. Thus “Star Roving” is symbolic for the introductory re-emergence of Slowdive (and a possible new album in 2017). Their sound is still easygoing but indirectly possesses an unchanging ode to the “scene that celebrates itself.” Slowdive’s ambitious journey has yet to wane despite fleeting time, and with that in mind, we utterly embrace it.
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cover: Slowdive © Ingrid Pop