Okay so slowdive are one of my “go to” bands and have been my favourite band for a while. I’m absolutely in love with the sound they create, and was honoured to have seen them live back in December at the Forum supported by Hookworms. Slowdive are a heavenly example of dream pop and textbook shoegaze, but they somehow manage to evoke a wide range of emotions - I'd describe them as being completely celestial, and having a really subsuming sound. The band consists of five musicians, and are led by the front pairing of Neil Halstead and Rachel Goswell, with Neil being a highly talented singer songwriter when he's not Slowdiving, whilst Rachel's a complete godess, and the perfect frontwomen. So anyway, I’m going to put down my top 5 Slowdive songs which is going to be hard as I always struggle to chose favourites of just about anything, but these songs particularly stick out to me as being the most perfect of a perfect bunch.
5. Avalyn (Slowdive EP, 1991)
Avalyn is an extremely beautiful and magical piece with dreamy vocals dotted around the repetitive guitar chords. This song has a strong sense of ambience to it, with a dreamlike edge. The repetitiveness of this song, with the droning riffs from the electric guitars, distortion and amorphous feel create a beautiful masterpiece. This song in particular elicits feelings of ethereal and beauty. The lyrics “Silence grows, my feelings flow, I’m dreaming now, silence grows, my feelings flow”
4. Dagger (Souvlaki, 1993)
Unlike most other Slowdive creations, Dagger has rawness to it. The wistful lyrics compliment the strummed dissonant acoustic guitar chords beautifully, giving the song such a strong passion, and absolute heartbreak. I adore this song and feel like it’s a perfect song to listen to when you're feeling contemplative or reflective. Dagger has a stripped down sound to it, which really grabs emotions when listening to it.
3. Crazy For You (Pygmalion, 1995)
Firstly, this song is PERFECT to do art to, it's a really repetitive yet progressing song, and the layered melodies/vocals fit perfectly for triggering that really great feeling of just getting lost in the music. Crazy For You summons impassioned thoughts, and really makes you feel at one with the music, which allows your mind to trail into continuous and intensifying thoughts. The guitar ostinato altered with echo and delay effect pedals form a dreamlike atmosphere building on the developing ambience of the song, all of which is more symptomatic of the more effects-driven direction the band were heading right til their original split.
2. Golden Hair (Holding Our Breath EP, 1991)
A cover of the psychedelia's byronic hero, Syd Barrett’s, original Golden Hair from the album The Madcap Laughs from 1970, which is in turn a song that takes it's lyrics from a James Joyce poem. Slowdive alter this hugely by adding a shimmering coruscating gloss of shoegazing masterclass, and although the odd charm of Syd's original is lost, they really make it their own and transform the song completely. The song progresses from the lyrical Barrett section onto a mind blowing, ever escalating wall of noise, a piece of sonic artwork that was just phantasmagorical and unworldly sounding when I saw them play live back in December. I absolutely love this song - a real piece of art.
1. Machine Gun (Souvlaki 1993)
This is such a BEAUTIFUL song, the first slowdive song of which I honestly fell in love with; I can't express my love enough for the song's general feel and subject matter, and the radiant harmonies at the start that just come from nowhere. I could cry for hours listening to this song just at the pure beauty of it and hearing this in concert made me feel emotions I didn’t know I could feel - BUT THAT’S JUST WHAT SLOWDIVE DO. I’m oblivious to whether I'm feeling happy or sad listening to this song - but who cares? The ethereal pedal-laden chord progression in this song really hit me at the heart, and the dissonant chords against the wispy, delicate vocals just sounds heavenly, especially Rachel's beautiful verses. The elongated melodies and swirling, flowing form of this song add to the depth of this delicate piece. I don’t think I could love this song more, and I highly recommend this song if you haven’t already heard it.
(WRITTEN BY DARCY FOX-WILLIAMS)