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Slowdive - Souvlaki Album Review

*Slowdive at the Fox Theater in Oakland, California, 2017 by Arron Rubin

Slowdive is an English rock band that formed in Reading, Berkshire, in 1989. The band consists of Rachel Goswell on vocals and guitar, Neil Halstead on vocals and guitar, Christian Savill on guitar, Nick Chaplin on bass, and Simon Scott on drums. They got their name from the single by Siouxsie and the Banshees, called Slowdive. Their genre leans into ambient and atmospheric shoegaze. Heavy reverb and layered noises is the main vibe I pick up from Slowdive, but not layered in a wall of pure sound like My Bloody Valentine.

Slowdive has released four studio albums, being Just for a Day, Souvlaki, Pygmalion, and the self-titled Slowdive. They also have many EP’s and appear on multiple other albums. Souvlaki is the most well known of their four studio albums, being their highest rated one on and having the highest user score on Souvlaki is overall wonderful, and isn't as intense or as esoteric as other shoegaze albums. Starting off the album is Alison, which has Niel doing the vocals, where he talks about his partner loving drugs more than she loves him . Machine Gun is a slower song, and starts off with Rachel’s vocals. 40 Days seems to be a song about death and the feelings, as 40 days is usually the time families and friends get together to remember the death of someone. Sing and Here She Comes feel like filler songs, yet Here She Comes has some meaning to it. It talks about being in an unfamiliar situation, where you don’t know anyone, and you feel scared and oblivious.

*Neil Halstead at the Fox Theater in Oakland, California 2017 by Arron Rubin

Souvlaki Space Station is my favorite song on the album. The pure amount of layers really add depth and character to the song. The reverb is masterful, and really creates a dope headspace to be in. It feels like you are floating around in a cloud of the song just bouncing back and forth. Pretty cool to be honest. When The Sun Hits is also a really good song. It talks about how Neil fears that his love for his girlfriend is so strong and burns so fast, that it will quickly burn and fizzle out, which doesn’t make him feel good. Altogether is a boring song, but it is easier to recognize the underlying context of the entire album. It talks about a likely scenario that happened in Neil’s and Rachel’s relationship before they broke up right before the album. This is what the album mostly seems to be about; they were young and had a hard time handling a breakup and professional relationship. Melon Yellow is a very atmospheric song that isn’t too memorable. Dagger is a really unique song, as it’s one of the only examples of an acoustic song in Slowdive’s discography, and its main focus is a bad relationship, most likely the one Neil and Rachel were in. This is probably my third favorite song behind Souvlaki Space Station and When The Sun Hits.

Overall, the album is a memorable piece of sound and at least the songs Souvlaki Space Station, When The Sun Hits, and Dagger are worth listening to. Pretty cool album for an experience that garnered the review by Dave Simpson: "[…] a soulless void […] I would rather drown choking in a bath full of porridge than ever listen to it again." I recommend Souvlaki by Slowdive!

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