The Joup Friday Album: Slowdive – Pygmalion

slowdiveShoegaze is back!  So let’s talk about a legendary shoegaze act’s least stereotypically shoegazey album, an oddity amongst the band’s catalog, and one that led to them being dropped by their record label.

Slowdive’s 1995 album Pygmalion is a cold and minimal piece of abstract electronics, folky Americana guitar flourishes, ethereal dreaminess, and often haunting vocals.  Where the band’s previous efforts had an almost warmth to their spacey structures and layers of guitar effects, Pygmalion stands out as some kind of barren wasteland.  The music feels like staring into the sun on a cold and windy day.  Or, it feels like walking into the ocean, trying to reach where the water touches the horizon.  Or, it feels like walking through an expansive meadow, surveying the aftermath of some war or disaster.  The album is hushed, almost reverent in a post-anguish way.  It’s the eerie calm after the storm.  It is endlessness.  Just listen to the repeating vocal loops on “Crazy for You,” or Rachel Goswell’s vocals on “Miranda,” and you can almost feel the snow hitting your face, the stillness of it all.  Listen to the subdued guitar effects and mellow jazz cymbals on “Blue Skied an’ Clear,” or the devastating cello of the aptly named “Cello,” and find yourself going numb.

Honestly, it’s like they all knew this was the end of the line.  The band began to dissolve before the record was even released, and then Creation Records dumped them a week after Pygmalion’s debut.  Slowdive officially called it quits soon after.  It’s really a shame too.  Granted, everyone went on to make more music with other projects like Mojave 3 and Monster Movie, but looking back on the record now, almost 20 years later, it’s an amazing piece of work.  It was just ill timed, a casualty of its own radical departure from the band’s sound.

It’s a damn good album though, and you should listen to it (or at least listen to the six songs posted below).  You should also buy it.  The record was reissued a couple of years ago, so it’s not as impossible to procure a copy as it was back in the day when I was obsessed with it.

 

Give me some sugar Chester.

 

Thomas H Williams

Thomas H Williams

From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit heavenisanincubator.blogspot.com.

2 Responses to The Joup Friday Album: Slowdive – Pygmalion
  1. Chester Whelks Reply

    Sorry I missed this guys, will post this week.

  2. Shawn C Baker

    Shawn C Baker Reply

    Holy cow – this is amazing. Thank you Tommy! New Obsession.

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