Slowdive – everything is alive (Dead Oceans)

Slowdive – everything is alive (Dead Oceans)

Sometimes, there are albums I get sent to review, and it’s a drag. Other times, there are albums that are so jaw-droppingly brilliant that I can’t stop playing them, even when I’ve heard them more than enough times to get on with actually writing the review.

See, everything is alive (no capitals here) is Slowdive’s fifth album in total, and their first in sixth years. And it genuinely has shaken up my order of best albums of the year. Hopefully this will apply to other writers as well…

There’s a beautiful intensity at work here, that keeps bringing you back for more. This picks up pretty much where their fourth, self-titled album left off, but I promise you that it’s even better. The last six years have been challenging for pretty much anyone, and this album is dedicated to singer-guitarist Alison Goswell’s mother and drummer Simon Scott’s father, who both died in 2020. Even without looking at the lyric sheet, it feels like an emotional album, but the skill of Slowdive is that the overwhelming emotion here is that of hope.

There’s more of an electronic feel to this album than any of their others. This is most evident on album opener ‘shanty‘ and ‘chained to a cloud‘ (like I said earlier, no capitals!) Singer-guitarist Neil Halstead began working on demos at home, experimenting with modular synths and reportedly originally conceived of everything is alive as a more minimal electronic record. Once it came into contact with the guitars that the band are known for it reached its final destination, but a bit of experimenting has enabled Slowdive to have their musical cake and eat it too. It’s recognisably Slowdive, yet moving in new directions too. For those who think that shoegazing music is too impenetrable, this might well be as good a place as any for beginning to explore the genre. If I’m not sure about anything, it’s perhaps finishing the album with ‘the slab‘ which seems a little darker than the rest of the album. Small matter, it provides some different shade.

So…same time same place in 2029, then? Given how damn-near perfect this record is, the band should feel free to take as long as they need to. If you’ve enjoyed Slowdive before, this will remind you why you became a fan, but I hope this will enable them to pick up many new fans, too. I got sent this album to review but I will happily go and buy myself a vinyl copy to treasure. Meanwhile, I’ll give it another play…


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