Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Slowdive - Souvlaki


Many consider this album as part of the great shoegaze triumverate, consisting of Loveless, Nowhere, and this. But, I think Souvlaki tends to lean quite a bit more toward the dream pop side of things. The swirling guitar fuzzed out effects you normally hear in shoegaze are here, but aren't as dominant and pronounced. Melody and vocals take more precedence instead. I'd compare these guys most to Galaxie 500. Slower in tempo and dreamlike.

"Alison" is one of my favorite album openers ever, and a great way to start out. "Souvlaki Space Station" is one monster of a track with its crazed out reverb effects, and serves as a nice mood piece in the middle of the album. "When the Sun Hits" is another highlight, and comes off especially well right off of "Souvlaki Space Station."

Aside from the three songs mentioned above, the rest of the album has a tendency to float together into one big mass. They get comfortable in a zone and rarely stray from it. Taken individually I'd probably appreciate these songs more. Let's just say that the 10th bite of a great steak is never as tasty as the first. Particularly, after "When the Sun Hits" ends the album seems to go into cruise control and I tend to really tune out and lose interest. "Altogether" and "Melon Yellow" add very little to the album and are very similar in tempo, mood, etc. By the time "Dagger" comes on I'm often itching for it to end so I can put on something else.

So, I'm a little torn. At its best, Souvlaki is breathtaking and sublime - some of the best dream pop you'll ever hear. I just really wish they'd pushed it further and really tried to break out of the rut they seemed to fall back on a little too often, because it just gets a little tiresome by the end.

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