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The Sunflower

REVIEW: Slowdive’s ‘everything is alive’ takes the shoegaze crown

Photo courtesy of Dead Oceans

I wouldn’t say I’m the biggest fan of Slowdive, but this is no fault of their own. Every Slowdive song I’ve listened to, I’ve absolutely adored, but I’ve never put in the time to listen to all their tracks. After the release of their new album, “everything is alive,” though, I might change that.

Slowdive is one of the biggest names in the shoegaze genre, which is mostly accredited to My Bloody Valentine’s 1991 album, “Loveless.” To me, it doesn’t get more shoegaze than Slowdive’s 1994 “Souvlaki.”

Slowdive underwent a series of changes in the time leading up to “everything is alive.” The band broke up in 1995 after the release of “Pygmalion,” causing three of the members to diverge to a more folk-like sound under “Mojave 3.”

However, following a reunion in 2014 to play a music festival, Slowdive returned (hopefully for good) and released their self-titled album in 2017, after 22 years of radio silence from the group. Now, they’ve returned with their fifth studio album, “everything is alive.”

Released Sept. 1, “everything is alive” is relatively short, totaling eight songs and spanning about 42 minutes. All throughout, the tracks ebb and flow alongside one another and create a remarkably cohesive album.

The first track, “shanty,” sets the stage for the rest of the album. Dreamy and electronic, with tones of echoing vocal reverb that shoegaze is known for, the track leans away from voice and focuses on creating a steady beat that could easily set the backdrop of an 80s synthwave-inspired platform. “prayer remembered” follows suit, creating a track that you could easily fall asleep to, in the best way possible.

The third track, “alife,” quickly established itself as a favorite of mine for its blend of classic shoegaze-elements with a more refined and modern feel. Released as the final single on Aug. 30, “alife” features more vocals than the first two tracks but an equal amount of dreamy guitar instrumentals.

“andalucia plays” is noticeably different from the get-go. The type of in-your-ear vocals this track features, alongside sweetly strumming guitar, reminded me of older Slowdive. If you told me this track was the cover song for an indie Bildungsroman flick, I would believe you. Easily.

“kisses” was featured alongside all three single releases following up to the album. I can really see why. It’s obviously more upbeat than the others, while still featuring the same vocals coming from 15 feet underwater. This song would easily fall into place in a retail store, accompanying you while you shop at Old Navy.

The two following tracks – the single “skin in the game” and “chained to a cloud” – were honestly kind of forgettable, but still enjoyable. “chained to a cloud” focused on a descending beat that was pretty soothing but nothing to write home about.

The final track, “the slab,” is thematic and heavy. It’s the perfect song to wrap up the ethereal album, especially after two almost-misses right before. “the slab” exceeds in encapsulating the different elements of the seven prior songs.

“everything is alive” is a perfect shoegaze album, and a really exciting release from Slowdive. If you’re a fan of My Bloody Valentine or need a good album to drink your morning coffee to, “everything is alive” could be just what you need to hear.  

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About the Contributor
Sascha Harvey, Opinion Editor
Sascha Harvey is the opinon editor for The Sunflower. A junior majoring in graphic design, this is Harvey's third year on staff and second year as a section editor. He is originally from Arkansas but has no accent to speak of (unless you listen really hard). The graphic design major enjoys covering feature stories and local news. Harvey uses he/him pronouns.

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    Carlos VasquezSep 5, 2023 at 11:28 pm

    Really just your opinion, I disagree with your Navy Blue comment regarding “kisses” glad you listened to it all the way through.