Sunday, September 10, 2023

Slowdive "Everything is Alive" & US Tour: Sept 25 - Oct 15

This past decade has curiously become the locus of the nascent 1990s spacerock and shoegaze sound, with not only new albums, and tours, but improbable bands reforming and reactivating after decades of silence. We were not only witness to the third domestic tour since their reformation by My Bloody Valentine but the first new album in 22 years, "MBV" which finally manifested after years of legend and rumor. Equally unexpected, the return of LOOP after decades of its founder Robert Hampson claiming if you weren't there to witness their staggering volume and endurance-testing live performances in the 1990's, then you'll never quite know what the band was about. 4AD label dreampop confection, Lush also joined their ranks. Spring 2016 saw the band's first live shows in 20 years since the unexpected death of friend and drummer, Chris Acland, Miki Berenyi, Emma Anderson and Phil King spoke with The Quietus for their "Mad Love: An Interview with Lush". An era for the band that both initiated and concluded within the course of the single tour cycle. To only be reborn in-part, as Piroshka the following year. Marking a similar path, these ranks were also bolstered by the immensely influential Ride, who themselves have multiple new records and tours this past half-decade. All of which pursuing courses forged down precluding pathways by Scottish dream-pop progenitors Cocteau Twins, and the later British bands following in the druggy astronomical haze of Spacemen 3. This set of compatriots in shared sound fast became a who's who of the best of UK underground rock of the early 1990's. The most improbable of them all, was the announcement that Slowdive would be performing a one-off at the Primavera Sound Festival in 2014. Following in the wake of the massively received event, the band recognized the ongoing dedication of their fanbase in interview with The Quietus, "There Seems To Be A Lot Of Love Out There: A Slowdive Interview". Finding an enthusiasm for performing and writing again, suggesting the very real possibility of a reformation as the "Slowdive Reunion Expands with More Shows, Possibility of New Music" and following in rapid succession, "Slowdive Announce North American Tour, Reunion".

For followers of the band, after the breakdown of the mid-1990's, the last thing one would expect to hear is that it's their overlooked final album created in mid-rift, "Pygmalion", which stands out as an obvious point of stylistic reference amidst the sonic concoction of this new live incarnation. This was made all that much more surprising for Neil Halstead's often-expressed sentiment that that era of his music was definitively closed and it was his 4AD released project Mojave 3 and solo work that would be his larger legacy. Halstead is not the only member with a vital and prolific post-breakup creative arch away from the path carved by Slowdive. The work of drummer and sound designer, Simon Scott is equal to the group's sonic summits. One only need hear the atmospheric, jazz-informed ambient tonescapes of his excellent "Bunny" for the Miasmah label for it to be made clear that the adventurous pop Scott created with Halstead, Rachel Goswell, Nick Chaplin and Christian Savill, decades before was a point of entry, rather than a final destination. In 2017, all members of the band reassembled for the first new recordings in 22 years on the magisterial and surprising "Slowdive", for Bloomington Indiana label, Dead Oceans. This album singularly giving momentum to, "The Unlikely Renaissance of Slowdive", ascending to heights of popularity never previously seen by the band, riding the wave of the "Jewel-like, Spacious Return" of their sound. The development of this new work detailed for Stereogum by guitarist, Rachel Goswell "The Only Goth in the Village", who along with Halstead, was the primary architect of 1995's "Pygmalion", stating that his time out the group dynamic was all important, offering; "It's poppier than I thought it was going to be,". "When you're in a band and you do three records, there's a continuous flow and a development. For us, that flow re-started with us playing live again and that has continued into the record". After multiple Us tours, and five years, they return to this process for "Everything is Alive", which Neil Halstead speaks with NPR on the subject of their new album, and the coming tour of "Exquisite Songs from the Comeback Kids of Shoegaze".