The Fleece | 30th March
The nature in which Slowdive have approached their reformation as a group after twenty years has allowed them to be received with a different sense of palpable excitement to that which other groups are given upon their return. Having delivered upon intentions of releasing new music, and said music having even as much quality as their best output, it’s handed the five-piece an interesting stability of fresh opportunities for themselves and fond reminiscence for their fans to engage in.
Upon the warranted enthusiasm that the announcement of this smaller-venue tour was given and then the sudden announcement of a new full-length as the shows proceeded, we find the group’s show at The Fleece can be a marker for the defining new chapter of an integrally creative group. There is no need for reinvigoration, no revolution, simply the next step on an intimate adventure.
With The Fleece bathed in a vibrant pool of light and mood, the group took to the sold-out stage and delivered a set that simply proved such startling continuance. The set-list balanced not only on a notably seamless transcendence between old and new, but a more definitive distinction between the band’s first records.
The atmospheric ambience that oscillates from within ‘Crazy For You’ and ‘Catch The Breeze’ embodies the group’s more lunar moments, the floating space of isolation that is only accompanied by Rachel Goswell and Neil Halstead’s tempered harmonies for any sense of comforting accompaniment. It’s an evident divergence as the group strike into Souvlaki favourite ‘Machine Gun’, the weight of Christian Savill and Halstead’s guitars as they course through the dissonance of layered melodies, Goswell sparkling in solitude as she delivers her reverie-inducing falsetto. Live, the group display the depth of their discography, and the characterisation of each of its parts – something that can so easily be lost within the hue of a performance.
As new singles ‘Star Roving’ and the beautifully clear ‘Sugar For The Pill’ prove themselves to fit so well within the context of their work, it’s noticeable not only how involved the crowd are with the group’s enveloping sound, but just how much the band themselves are enjoying playing with one another. Small cracks between one another mid-song and gleaming smiles as each song blossoms in the way that it does, it gives the impression that Slowdive are meant to be doing this now just as much they were twenty years ago.
Check out ‘Sugar for the Pill’ below.