The unlikely renaissance of Slowdive: ‘Shoegaze became the genre of ridicule’

From the Guardian

Twenty years after a Britpop-obsessed music press drove them out of town, the re-formed band’s sound can be heard in the music of everyone from Tame Impala to the 1975. Not that their kids are impressed

Slowdive: ‘All we see is that woman with the mop cleaning, wherever we go.’ Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

Rachel Goswell can’t pinpoint the exact moment the music press turned on Slowdive. But she knows it was sometime between 1991, when Melody Maker described an early EP as “impossible, immaculate and serene”, and 1993, when a writer from the same publication said he would “rather drown choking in a bath full of porridge” than listen to their music again.

“It was the first album, wasn’t it?” she asks her bandmates. This is the first time the five of them have done an interview together since the mid-90s, when their career, at first so bristling with potential, fizzled to an end. “It was definitely a really quick turnaround,” nods guitarist Neil Halstead. It was a vicious one, too.

Both Goswell and Halstead were barely out of school when they formed Slowdive in 1989, recruiting drummer Adrian Sell (who left six months later, and was replaced by Simon Scott) and his friend Nick Chaplin on guitar. Christian Savill was the only person to respond to an advert for a female guitarist, so they hired him to complete the lineup.

The band’s woozy, immersive early EPs were met with widespread acclaim. Theirs was a wall of noise you could sink into; a soundscape where no one instrument – not even the voice – was given special billing. There were melodies in there, but they were elusive and unshowy, much like the band’s members. Slowdive were shy, self-effacing teenagers who were, Halstead says, “semi-embarrassed” by the pedestal they were put on. And then, without much warning, they were booted off it.

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