Pygmalion / Slowdive
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Digitally remastered and expanded two CD edition of the British Shoegaze outfit's 1995 album featuring a whole disc of previously unreleased demos. Pygmalion, their final album, was a departure from their previous two albums, incorporating a more experimental sound tilted towards Ambient Electronic music, with sparse, atmospheric arrangements. It was their final album before Slowdive disbanded in 1995, an event widely associated with the demise of Shoegazing. 21 tracks. Cherry Red. 2010.
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If it does describe you, you should pick this up. I wouldn't say that this is a better album than Souvlaki, but it is perfect resolution on which to end their discography. The sound, as you have probably heard, is minimalist -- simple bass and guitar themes with only occasional drums. The vocals are tough to decipher, in classic dream pop fashion. It's almost hard to listen to the whole thing without falling asleep, but if you do, there isn't better music out there to fall asleep to. It brings the band's sound past Souvlaki to a fully realized Slowdive mood and is a fitting closure for their discography. It isn't the next Souvlaki that you wanted, but when you listen to it, you understand why it isn't.
the liner notes are also a good read, and a look into how the album came about.
After reading the historical write-up in the cd sleeve I realized why they put out this album.....to get back at the folks who had suppposedly wronged them. What they should have done was put out an amazing album so that another company would pick them up.....but instead they chose this outcome....truly disappointing.
After Just for a Day and Souvlaki (both stellar albums) this album is unlistenable....and believe me I've tried.
Which brings me to this release. The Slowdive reissue campaign Sanctuary started with 2 CD editions of their 2 previous albums (and which Cherry Red eventually ended with this release) was exemplary, with worthy second discs that compiled contemporary EP's and compilation tracks (many of which are some of Slowdive's best music)...but this. This? This is something else. What we have on this second disc (the "Pygmalion Demos"), with only 2 tracks of redundant songs, amounts to nothing less than a fourth, unreleased Slowdive album...a Slowdive album that hems a lot closer to their previous "dream pop" style, closer to the style they displayed on "Just For a Day", oddly enough. All the delayed, angelic goodness you're used to from this band, displayed over and over again on unreleased tracks such as "Watch Me" and "Changes", with plenty of Durutti Column style (or, as I must grudgingly admit, The Edge-like) guitar. The sound quality suffers a bit of course, this being seemingly home recorded demos, but the reduced fidelity actually gives it an atmosphere not unlike the Cocteau Twins' classic early 80's albums. Recommended.
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