Few bands’ catalogs feel as definitive as Slowdive’s. On three immaculate albums and a few choice EPs and B-sides, the English band built a foundation for all shimmery shoegaze acts to come, and then floated away, seemingly forever. So it felt more than a little risky when the reunited quintet announced plans for its first LP in 22 years. Not only would the new songs stand next to the classics for all eternity, they’d share space with them in concert, where weaknesses would surely be exposed.
Not to worry. The eponymous Slowdive not only lives up to the band’s legacy, it extends it further, by bridging it with the present. Principal songwriter Neil Halstead’s wondrous palate still tickles the senses the way it did circa Souvlaki, yet the eight new tunes are entirely of this moment, sonically speaking. The best tracks—opener “Slomo,” which gradually melds Halstead’s voice with Rachel Goswell’s; single “Sugar for the Pill,” whose dreamy guitars hit the heavens at the three-minute mark; and closer “Falling Ashes,” a somber yet uplifting ballad—absolutely deserve to rub shoulders with “Catch the Breeze” and “Machine Gun” for ever and ever.