In the annals of shoegaze history, the 22-year hiatus seems to have become something of a trope. First it was My Bloody Valentine, who reemerged in the public consciousness with the release of MBV in 2013. Slowdive followed suit, releasing their own eponymous LP in 2017, 22 years after the release of Pygmalion (1995). Since then Slowdive have had a following that should be the envy of many, with a legion of old fans and new cast under the spell of their dreamy melancholy. Now the release Everything is Alive sees the band not only reaffirming their place in the pantheon of dream-pop but also catapulting them into a new era of musical relevance. Slowdive stands at the top of their game, surpassing even their own lofty standards set decades ago.
The album opener, “shanty”, places you in a soundscape that is unmistakably Slowdive, yet it’s also a refreshing evolution of their sound. The band deftly imbues their tried and true sonic foundations with layers upon layers of textures that invite you to lose yourself in its depths. The classic wall of reverb-drenched guitars has been joined by a palette of contemporary elements that adds depth and dimension. Songs like “alife” and “chained to a cloud” are prime showcases for this synthesis of old and new, with pulsating modular synths and cascading guitar lines creating a pleasantly hypnotic experience.
Rachel Goswell’s vocals remain a celestial force throughout the album, her ethereal presence weaving seamlessly through the intricate tapestry of sound. Her ability to evoke a sense of yearning and introspection is as potent as ever, and it’s one of the defining elements that continue to set Slowdive apart. Lyrically, Everything Is Alive delves into the big questions of time, existence, and of reality, but of course being a shoegaze album the lyrics are mostly unintelligible. Still, it’s an album that draws you toward contemplation and reflection. Everything Is Alive is a testament to Slowdive’s enduring creative spirit. It’s an album that proves that they are not content to rest on their laurels but are committed to pushing the boundaries of their genre. In a musical landscape that often craves innovation, Slowdive demonstrates that true artistry lies in the ability to reinvent oneself while staying true to one’s self.