Is it weird for a band’s so-called “comeback album” to be your favorite thing they’ve ever done? This is a question I find odd, because I don’t think it’s something I’ve ever been forced to seriously consider. I mean, yes, there have been albums by returning long-dormant bands that have been quite good in the past (Sleater-Kinney’s recent album comes to mind). But really the only example that’s coming to mind is when Superchunk came back in 2010 with Majesty Shredding, which I’m not entirely sure is my favorite Superchunk album, but might be my favorite Superchunk album.
Though to be fair, the only Slowdive album I’d heard previous to their 2017 release is their most acclaimed album, 1993’s Slouvaki, which is an album I like, though maybe I’ve never been enough of a hardcore shoegaze fan for it to really stick with me. Which is why it’s surprising that I’ve been digging this self-titled comeback album from Slowdive, their first in 22 years. But I think the reason why has to do with it transcending being a mere comeback album, because like any great late-career rock album, it dares to look not just backwards, but forward as well.
Well, not forwards per se (this isn’t future rock), but it certainly looks at the present. Meaning Slowdive sound quite contemporary here, with some amazingly atmospheric production and a scope that’s wide, but never loses sight of sharp songwriting. I suppose the easy modern band to compare this album to is Beach House. Though you can’t really accuse Slowdive of ripping off Beach House when I’m sure they (or at least their contemporaries) had a sizable influence on this younger band. But whatever the case is… much like Beach House, I have a hard time effectively writing about music of this sort, since it appeals more to a kind of sensuousness that’s hard to put into words. So I’ll just say it’s a very pretty album that shows a band sounding better than they ever have, even if you’re not a big enough Slowdive fan for that to mean anything.
Favorite Tracks: “Star Roving”, “Go Get It”, “Falling Ashes”