I once debated with a friend about a topic that was not very good; better between Slowdive and Loveless (1991) album Slowdive or Loveless (1991) My Bloody Valentine. This friend of mine, who claimed the son of a full-fledged shoegaze replied with full confidence, “Loveless is definitely better, whether technically or overall impact for the British music scene.”
Loveless is indeed a legend album. But I can not deny my conscience that Souvlaki is more impressive. The reason is simple: no need to be a fanatic shoegaze fan to pervade every song on Souvlaki album. In essence, Souvlaki sounds lighter without a lack of musical weight.
Souvlaki – taken from the name of a Greek fast food that includes meat and fruit slices – was released in 1993 by the Creation label. This album is the second of Slowdive after Just for a Day (1991). Slowdive was founded in Berkshire, England in 1989 and comprised Neil Halstead, Rachel Goswell, Christian Savill, Nick Chaplin, and Simon Scott.
Souvlaki recording process accompanied by some interesting stories behind him. The album was made shortly after Halstead and Goswell’s romance broke down. Not only that, their initial demo was rejected record label. Brian Eno is expected to sit on the bench producer, it was averse to produce although finally willing to help in one or two songs.
However, Slowdive eventually succeeded in producing 11 classic numbers like “Alison,” “Souvlaki Space Station,” “Sing” and “Here She Comes.” The numbers are thick with guitar effects, distortion, slow tempo, odd taps nan charming, to the lyrics of a broken heart so delusional. The combination of several of these factors results in a beautiful melody landscape again cradles.
Pitchfork in his review called Souvlaki is a mandatory album that must be heard again. Through Souvlaki, Pitchfork defines Slowdive as “the first and last word of pop music.” While Spin says, Souvlaki was born as a narrative by My Bloody Valentine in Loveless (1991) but feels more elegant by Brian Eno’s interference.
Souvlaki’s success must be paid handsomely with a series of setbacks in later years. There is a kind of heavy load that Slowdive pikul. Trapped in the success of the Souvlaki pattern makes their creations stagnant. In the album Pygmalion (1995), their quality declined and somehow strayed away from the Slowdive characters. The intentions of the heart want to improvise, but instead lose the spirit by incorporating elements of electronic music that is not clear juntrungannya.
What they do in the Pygmalion album instantly gets an unhealthy response. The media even asked Slowdive to quickly “work on their headstone” because of the fall of the quality of the music being carried. Not to mention the addition of the drummer Simon Scott and the loss of Halstead who knows where to make the Slowdive road becomes gray if you do not want to be called dark. In 1995, they broke up. It took almost two decades for Slowdine to reunite.
Dead Genres Due to Boring
Shoegaze music was born in mainland Britain in the 1980s. Music journalist and author of Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction to Its Own Past (2010), Simon Reynolds explains the birth of shoegaze caused by the socio-political climate in England. At that time, the British conservative government led by Margaret Thatcher entered the third period of office.
In this period, Thatcher was under great pressure to step down from his post due to a series of problems, including: the fall of Wall Street shares, public polemics regarding the future of Britain in the European Community, until tax cuts and credit ease which encourages inflation.
Not to mention issues such as high unemployment, the Falklands war against Argentina, racial tensions in a number of cities, as well as the miners’ strikes and injustices generated from the tax policy added to Thatcher’s insistence on stepping down. And he really stepped down in 1990.
Substitute Thatcher, John Major also did not escape from the pressure of the British public who have been wary of conservative things. Although Major is considered to have a good record in the government such as reaching mutual agreement with other European countries in the Maastricht Treaty to sign a ceasefire with the Irish Republican Army (IRA), but allegations of government corruption and party splits are a major obstacle to his post.
As a result, the situation created despair for the young population. For the idealistic youth there are two choices; channeling his passion on the guitar and falling into a pool of drugs. The question is why is the guitar an escape tool?
At that time, the guitar player was a young idol. They were inspired by wild game Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Marr from The Smiths, and The Cure with post punk exploration, to grunge outrage from America. No doubt, the young boys who are embarrassed by the British conservative regime is then mengulik guitar and produce a new genre derivative of rock called shoegaze.
In fact, it is not just shoegaze that appears in the midst of the conservative government. Stuart Maconie, a British music critic, explained that the spread of music in the Thatcher era and government conservatism is quite prevalent. “In London and the southern region, which in fact is a rich settlement, apolitical music appears, you will hear a smooth and sleek pop,” explains Maconie referring to New Wave music with bands like Spandau Ballet.
He adds, “Whereas in the north of England where Thatcher’s policies impacted the lid of mills, mining, and rising unemployment, music was used as a means of resistance and a voice of protest.” Examples that fall into this category are Morrissey (after the era of The Smiths) with a single titled “Margaret on the Guillotine” from Viva Hate’s debut album (1988).
The Allmusic website defines shoegaze as a genre of music dominated by guitar effects, vocal vague, slow and dazzling song tempo, to the distinctive character on stage (shoegaze children mostly always see below play to focus on stamping pedal effect). Terma shoegaze itself was first introduced by Sounds journalist, Andy Hurt after observing the nature of Moose players who often look to the effect pedal under the feet.
Concerning the name of shoegaze himself, Mogwai personnel who are also fans of My Bloody Valentine Stuart Brathwaite never threw a spicy argument. “Shoegaze is a stupid name created (magazine) idiot NME who does not understand anything. Plus, this is very patronizing. If anyone calls us ‘shoegazer’,