Slowdive

In recent years, several indie bands from the 1990s have pulled together to release new albums and embark on new tours. There’s money in nostalgia, as early fans now have more disposable income and newer generations benefit from decades of critical assessment (as well as easy access to bands’ entire catalogs on the internet). However, the self-titled new release from 1990s shoegaze act Slowdive is so good that it seems less a cash-in and more as though the musicians, now wiser and more comfortable with themselves, simply reconvened for the joy of making music. Slowdive announces its return from a 22-year break with the opener “Slomo,” a song that luxuriates in soft-rock drums and synthesizers and is driven by a lead guitar that sounds aquatic, receding away through echoing delays. Every sound is multiplied through the thick use of reverberation and multitracked vocals, giving the songs a kaleidoscopic feel. The tempo explodes from “Slomo” into “Star Roving” and “Everyone Knows,” and there is a euphoric urgency to much of the material — a far cry from the group’s best 1990s work, which was more hypnotic and ephemeral. The album ends with “Falling Ashes,” an eight-minute composition of gentle piano melodies and the words “thinking about love” repeated like a mantra. It’s a hushed composition that feels like snowflakes slowly melting. When it closes, Slowdive disappears again.