One of the genre’s most revered and highly regarded bands are back.
Five years on from their first comeback record and nearly fifteen years since the band reunited, the shoegaze legends are once again returning. Everything is Alive sees Slowdive leaning into their gothic electronica and post-punk influences to create something quite incredible.
From the moment album opener ‘Shanty’ begins, you are acutely aware that you’re witnessing something special with Everything is Alive: Throughout their back catalogue, Slowdive have a knack for creating monolithic walls of sound and this record lives up to the trend. ‘Shanty’ weaves and drives as it sways with electronic melancholia. It’s an opening statement which lures the listener in and invites them to get lost within its spell, boasting an outro which could be 35 minutes long and still impossible to tear oneself away from.
There’s more of the same on ‘Prayer Remembered’. Fully instrumental, bar a few vocalised oo’s and aa’s, Slowdive layer brooding, moody synthesizers over a low-key drum beat. Short guitar parts – maybe two or three seconds a piece – are added to the sublime cacophony with a deft touch. The same can be said for ‘Alife’, another standout, it drives and sways whilst maintaining a fantastic air of desolation that only the best shoegaze bands can capture.
‘Andalucia Plays’ is one of the record’s more tender moments. A near seven-minute soul searcher of a composition, it never strays into monotony and the hurt present in the melody is palpable. As the simplicity of the acoustic lead intertwines with soft electric guitar and harmonised keys, the cut washes over you and you can’t help but bask in its glow.
‘Kisses’ and ‘Skin in the Game’ are more upbeat affairs which lean on Slowdive’s gothic, synth-led setting for this album. There is no filler here and, although each offering may close in on at least four minutes, it is all audio gold with no fat to be found.
In an album of high points, ‘Chained to a Cloud’ is the real standout. The instrumental piece is just exceptional, and the gloomy electronica creates an ethereal bed of noise before Simon Scott’s drums crash in to elevate the final third. Closer ‘The Slab’ is a familiar prospect for longtime followers, with Slowdive’s engine room of immense percussion and guitar overlays complimenting each other to strike a perfect resonance.
Everything is Alive is a total triumph from Slowdive – they do absolutely everything right on this record. It’s sensitive and soulful, whilst remaining powerful and thoughtful. The grandiose tunes hit you full-on in the face, and you simply can’t get enough.