1993, Music

Souvlaki (1993) by Slowdive

What do I do with this? It’s a dream pop record on the shoegaze side of dreampop (as opposed to the psychedelic side) released after the peak of shoegaze. Attacked in the press at the time for being too shoegazey when everyone had moved on to britpop, it seems to be now held up as some kind of definitive shoegaze statement – doesn’t sound enough like shoegaze to me – or some kind of definitive dream pop statement, despite the trends away from that.

But if you remove that context – the idea that there was a war on for the musical soul of Britain and britpop (and stuff labeled britpop) was winning – you’re left with a dream pop record which sounds, to my ears, like a whole lot of other dream pop records. I get that if dream pop is your thing, or if shoegaze is your thing, you’re willing to spend the time listening to this and other records to determine that this is better dream pop/shoegaze than some other record that sounds just like this to my untrained ears. But for the rest of us, all we have to go on is historical context. And that context tells us that this type of music had already existed for years prior to this record coming out.

I am listening to this on headphones – it is not as loud as it needs to be to be effective (for me) as shoegaze and I’m just not sure it’s catchy enough for me to remember as dream pop.

All that being said, it does what it sets out to do – there’s no mistaking this for something else, so if you like dreamy vocals and lots of echo and lots of reverb, then you’ll probably like it a lot. But I’m not sure I can figure out why I’m supposed to care.


All tracks written by Neil Halstead, except where noted.

  1. “Alison” 3:51
  2. “Machine Gun” 4:28
  3. “40 Days” 3:16
  4. “Sing” (Brian Eno, Slowdive) 4:51
  5. “Here She Comes” 2:19
  6. “Souvlaki Space Station” (Rachel Goswell, Slowdive) 5:58
  7. “When the Sun Hits” 4:47
  8. “Altogether” 3:42
  9. “Melon Yellow” 3:55
  10. “Dagger” 3:33
  • Neil Halstead – vocals, guitar
  • Rachel Goswell – vocals, guitar
  • Christian Savill – guitar
  • Nick Chaplin – bass guitar
  • Simon Scott – drums

Additional personnel

  • Brian Eno – keyboards and treatments on “Sing” and “Here She Comes”

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