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Slowdive were a British Dream Pop/Shoegazing band active during The Eighties and The Nineties, not named after the Siouxsie and the Banshees song "Slowdive". Next to My Bloody Valentine, they are considered one of the best examples of their genres. The band primarily consisted of Nick Chaplin (bass), Rachel Goswell (vocals, guitar), Neil Halstead (vocals, guitar), and Christian Savill (guitar). The drummer's chair was filled by Simon Scott between 1990-1994 and Ian McClutcheon between 1994-1996.
The band was formed in 1989 by childhood friends Halstead and Goswell, with Savill and Chaplin joining the band shortly thereafter. Their first release, a self-titled EP got them critical praise in the British press. Sustaining their momentum with two more EPs, they then released their first album, Just for a Day in 1991. They quickly got compared to My Bloody Valentine, and while they did represent an influence the band never fit in completely with the shoegaze aesthetic, owing more to the Cocteau Twins.
Their second album, Souvlaki got them even stronger critical praise and features some of their best songs, such as "Machine Gun". With time, Souvlaki also found itself a place in the canon of landmark Shoegazing albums next to My Bloody Valentine's Loveless and Ride's Nowhere. An additional EP that year saw them experiment with influences from ambient techno and country. However, around this time the Shoegazing fad in the UK was dying down and even earning Hype Backlash, and the US distributor SBK Records' attempts to promote their albums in the midst of Grunge proved incredibly incompetent and stupid. Additionally, SBK pulled out funding, forcing the band to finance two tours of the USA in 1994 themselves.
A week after the release of Pygmalion, Slowdive were dumped from Creation Records - Halstead had been threatened that the relationship with the label would end unless they delivered a "pop album", and predictably, he completely ignored them. Slowdive ceased to exist around this time: Chaplin and Savill left, while Goswell, Halstead and McClutcheon regrouped as Mojave 3 and signed to 4AD Records. With Mojave 3 they abandoned the Shoegazing label and instead focused on combining Dream Pop, electronic experimentation and some mild country influences.
Slowdive has actually done more for their genre than people give them credit for, which is not exactly something surprising considering Shoegazing bands not named My Bloody Valentine as a whole suffer from severe Overshadowed by Awesome, and Slowdive's mellower sound stood out like a sore thumb amid the ear-brutalising loudness of the shoegaze scene. They helped innovate the electronic aspects of shoegaze - where My Bloody Valentine provided the blueprint for the monstrous instrumental shoegaze based around a combination of brutally loud guitars and soothing melodies, Slowdive's copious use of reverb, songs played veeeerryyyyy sllooowwwwwllyyyyyy and overall spaciness made bands like M83 and A Sunny Day In Glasgow possible.
- Slowdive EP (1990)
- Morningrise EP (1991)
- Holding Our Breath EP (1991)
- Just for a Day (1991)
- Souvlaki (1993)
- 5 EP (1993)
- Pygmalion (1995)
Slowdive contains examples of the following tropes:
- Album Title Drop -- Just for a Day is a lyric in "Celia's Dream".
- The Cameo -- Brian Eno shows up to add keyboards and treatments to "Sing" and "Here She Comes".
- Cover Version -- "Some Velvet Morning" by Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra was added as a bonus track to the USA edition of Souvlaki (one of the few good things done by SBK Records) and came out on a separate EP in the UK. "Golden Hair" by Syd Barrett was part of a Peel Session and later bundled with the remastered two-disc edition of Just for a Day.
- Dream Pop
- Echoing Acoustics -- They used this quite a lot, bringing their sound closer to the middle between Dream Pop and shoegazing.
- Epic Rocking -- "Spanish Air", "Souvlaki Space Station", "Blue Skied an' Clear", "Trellisaze", "J's Heaven", "Rutti", "Crazy for You",
- I Am the Band -- Pygmalion is more of a Halstead solo album than a band effort.
- Indecipherable Lyrics
- Lampshade Hanging -- The title of Holding Our Breath is a reference to the critical pasting the band were expecting (and received) after Loveless prompted certain critics to start a Hype Backlash. Their work has since been Vindicated by History.
- Overshadowed by Awesome -- Just like Ride, Lush and many other contemporaries...
- Shout-Out -- Souvlaki was named after a Jerky Boys sketch where a main character claims that his wife will "suck your cock like souvlaki".
- Spiritual Successor -- Mojave 3
- Word Salad Lyrics -- Par for the course for shoegazers...