Everything Is Alive

Dead Ocean • 2023

The very first seconds of Slowdive’s new album »Everything Is Alive« suggest that the shoegaze co-founders wanted to do things differently this time. »Shanty« begins with slow, repetitive synths that form the basic foundation. At some point, however, the silkiest wall of sound in music history erupts over this modular spinning worm with acoustic lead guitar, and all is well. Apparently, the British quintet also came to the same conclusion: Singer and guitarist Neil Halstead’s idea of making a »more minimal electronic album« was scrapped; the best songs come from meeting in the middle, as the collective – so flat hierarchies do have their good points after all. After two instrumental numbers, Halstead and Rachel Goswell play their first duet on »Alife« and things get even better. Slowdive quite openly take up the maximalist sound of their epynomic predecessor and even sneak in a solo towards the end. »Andalucia Plays« is a little too melancholic even for the band’s own emotional league, while the opening single »Kisses« is a truly delightful hit, the likes of which can only be found a few times in Slowdive’s discography, which is not short of musical highlights. Also interesting is »Skin In The Game«, which evokes memories of »When The Sun Hits«, probably the band’s most famous song, and links their creative phases – they were inactive between 1995 and 2014. »Chained To The Clouds«, with the slowest of all possible names, once again relies on a continuous synth skeleton, »The Slab« closes the record with speed and hard drums, and everything is staged and perfect.