Music / Slowdive

Slowdive are a British Dream Pop/Shoegazing band active during The '80s and The '90s, named after the Siouxsie and the Banshees song "Slowdive". Next to My Bloody Valentine, they are considered one of the best examples of their genres. The band primarily consisted of Nick Chaplin (bass), Rachel Goswell (vocals, guitar), Neil Halstead (vocals, guitar), and Christian Savill (guitar). The drummer's chair was filled by Simon Scott from 199094 and Ian McCutcheon from 199495.

The band was formed in 1989 by childhood friends Halstead and Goswell, with Chaplin and Savill joining the band shortly thereafter. Their first release, a self-titled EP got them critical praise in the British press. Sustaining their momentum with two more EP's, they then released their first album, Just for a Day in 1991. They quickly got compared to My Bloody Valentine, and while they were an influence, the band never fit in completely with the shoegaze aesthetic, owing more to the Cocteau Twins.

Their second album, Souvlaki, features some of their best songs, such as "Alison", "Machine Gun", "40 Days", "Sing", "Souvlaki Space Station", "When the Sun Hits", and "Dagger". With time, Souvlaki has also found itself a place in the canon of landmark Shoegazing albums next to My Bloody Valentine's Loveless, Ride's Nowhere, and Lush's Split. An additional EP that year saw them experiment with influences from ambient techno and country. However, around this time the Shoegazing fad in the UK was dying down and even earning Hype Backlash, and the US distributor SBK Records' attempts to promote their albums in the midst of Grunge proved incredibly incompetent and stupid. Additionally, SBK pulled funding, forcing the band to finance two 1994 US tours themselves.

A week after Pygmalion was released, they were dumped from Creation Records — Halstead had been threatened that the relationship with the label would end unless they delivered a "pop album", and predictably, he completely ignored them. Slowdive ceased to exist around this time: Chaplin and Savill left, while Goswell, Halstead and McCutcheon regrouped as Mojave 3 and signed to 4AD Records. With Mojave 3 they instead focused on combining Dream Pop, electronic experimentation and some mild country influences.

Slowdive has actually done more for their genre than they're given credit for, which isn't surprising, considering Shoegazing bands other than My Bloody Valentine suffer from severe Overshadowed by Awesome, and their mellower sound stood out like a sore thumb amid the ear-brutalizing loudness of the shoegaze scene. Alongside the Czech band Ecstasy of Saint Theresa, who moved into Ambient and Techno soundscapes, they helped innovate shoegaze's electronic aspects — whereas My Bloody Valentine provided the blueprint for the monstrous instrumental shoegaze based around a combination of brutally loud guitars and soothing melodies, Slowdive's copious use of reverb, songs played very slowly and overall spaciness made bands like M83 and A Sunny Day in Glasgow possible.

They reunited in 2014 to much fanfare. On 12 January 2017, they released "Star Roving", their first single since 1994, and finally a self titled album on 5 May, to even more fanfare.

Classic lineup:

  • Neil Halstead - Vocals, guitar, keyboards
  • Rachel Goswell - Vocals, guitar, tambourine
  • Nick Chaplin - Bass
  • Christian Savill - Guitar
  • Simon Scott - Drums


  • Adrian Sell - Drums (1989)
  • Neil Carter (198990)
  • Ian McCutcheon - Drums (199495)

Studio discography:

  • Slowdive EP (1990)
  • Morningrise EP (1991)
  • Holding Our Breath EP (1991)
  • Just for a Day (1991)
  • Souvlaki (1993)
  • 5 EP (1993)
  • Pygmalion (1995)
  • Slowdive (2017)

Tropes close and feelings flow: