With Everything Is Alive, shoegaze pioneers Slowdive have created an album that resonates with emotion and catharsis, underpinned by an undeniable sense of optimism.
Renowned shoegaze architects Slowdive return with their new album, Everything Is Alive. And as the title implies, the album embarks on an exploration of the gleaming facets of life and the universal moments within it that touch all of us. While echoes of their atmospheric 1995 record Pygmalion can be heard in parts of the album, Everything Is Alive boldly shatters the confines of their past. The record spans psychedelic sounds, with pulses of the '80s, and John Cale-inspired odysseys, presenting itself as a sonic sage of both the past and future.
Everything Is Alive emanates a transportive aura, teeming with exploration and radiance and the euphoria of fresh beginnings. The album stands as a testament to a band channeling its unmistakable voice into the uncharted territories of the future. Six years after their last self-titled release, Slowdive, comprised of vocalists and guitarists Rachel Goswell and Neil Halstead, guitarist Christian Savill, bassist Nick Chaplin, and drummer Simon Scott, continues to develop new layers of their immersive and fundamental sound.
The pandemic shattered the group's original studio plans for Everything Is Alive in April 2020, necessitating a shift. Reuniting six months later at Courtyard Studio, the band's spirits were lifted. The album's roots took shape in Halstead's role as both writer and producer, crafting demos from the comfort of his home. Fiddling with modular synths, Halstead initially envisioned Everything Is Alive as a "more minimal electronic record." Although the gravitational pull of Slowdive's signature reverb-drenched guitars steered the collective ship, the essence of the initial concept infiltrated the songs. In the words of Halstead, "We’ve always come from slightly different directions, and the best bits are where we all meet in the middle." This convergence of five distinct voices forges the band's distinct sonic identity. As Goswell aptly puts it, "Something unquantifiable happens when the five of us come together in a room."
Embedded in Slowdive's narrative is a palpable sense of family, as Everything Is Alive stands as a tribute to Goswell's mother and Scott's father, both of whom passed in 2020. These profound personal shifts have seeped into the album's textured emotional fabric. The album resonates with experience, each note adorned with wisdom and a crucial touch of hope. Its enigmatic blend seamlessly embodies both sorrow and gratitude. Neil Halstead contemplates "Kisses," a surprisingly pop-laden track, stating, "It wouldn’t feel right to make a really dark record right now. The album is quite eclectic emotionally, but it does feel hopeful."