The six years of silence – not inactivity, not stopping live – have not diluted the spell of the Reading quintet’s music. There are electronic stitching that had not been noticeable in his songs for a long time, in the case of that promising opening that is “shanty”, which justifies the parallels that some have drawn with “Pygmalion” (1995), although without that minimalism that was so misunderstood at the time: you know, the splendors and bonfires of Brit Pop.
And although it is true that the final stretch of this fifth album, influenced by the loss of some loved ones and the logistical complications of the pandemic, is not at the same level as the rest (“chained to a cloud” y “the slab” sound like compliant procedures, perhaps due to the long and complicated gestation of the album), there are enough arguments here to continue trusting them as the patriarchal franchise of that already famous recipe book that crosses dream pop and shoegaze – and its various idioms – in a formula of singular evocative power.
The precious one stands out “andalucia plays”, title in which Neil Halstead winks at John Cale but ends up remembering the magna “By This River”by Brian Eno: one of the best songs in the career of Slowdive, definitely. But also “prayer remembered”, another of those dreamlike instrumental tapestries of the house, that raise you a couple of feet above the ground and transport you directly to another dimension, with a certain trace of The Cure circa “Disintegration” (1989). Or the pop punch of “life” y “kisses”, dynamic melancholy that will continue to feed his almost always impeccable live shows. The inspiration suffers (somewhat), but the magic usually remains. Enough to keep his parish happy.