Slowdive – Pygmalion – VINYL LP


2 in stock


The beautiful thing about a record like Pygmalion is the array of implications that come with its respective title. Little known fact, the name comes from the story of the titular king of Cyprus, who fell in love with a statue of an ivory woman that he created. Hence, Slowdive’s third and final record of their initial run is aptly titled; it’s easy to fall in love with.

A departure from their previous works, Pygmalion is abstract and lush. Whereas Just for a Day illustrated Slowdive’s more embryonic and conventional songwriting, their second record Souvlaki is immortalized as not only their best work, but also a landmark in shoegaze. However, where their previous two records amalgamated dream pop and shoegaze into one accessible and convenient package, Pygmalion does the opposite. It doesn’t emulate Souvlaki’s immediacy, yet it retains its intrigue. Pygmalion features an added emphasis on mood and atmosphere rather than hooks or lyrics. It’s a 50-minute meditation that displays Slowdive at their most intrepid yet vulnerable. From beginning to end, the record merges shoegaze with experimental textures and ambient strokes, drenched in a thick arctic atmosphere which is as harrowing as it is irresistible…

…Which brings us to the opener, “Rutti”. Not only one of the strongest openers to any album in recent time, the record’s immaculate starter is arguably Slowdive’s crown jewel; featuring multi-dimensional production, the song envelops the listener with its echoing guitars, Neil Halstead’s incoherent vocals, and a cascade of melodies at the 3-minute mark which features spiraling guitar harmonies, a cosmic bassline and crashing cymbals. It could either soundtrack a cruise through the Pacific ocean, or a supernova viewed from afar. It’s no “Alison”, that’s for sure – but that’s exactly the point. Pygmalion is its own type of beast, and “Rutti” is just one of its many trophies.

Following the brilliant sprawl of “Rutti”, we come to the misty and gleaming “Crazy For You”, the closest thing we have to a single on the record. On the surface, the track sees Halstead repeating the lyrics “Crazy for love”, which may seem unbearably cheesy at first, but amidst the exquisite auditory soundscape that the music conjures and the song’s unnavigable atmosphere, the lyrics don’t matter; they’re just part of the record’s unbreakable wall of sound.

Elsewhere on the record, tracks such as the magnificent yet frightening “Trellisaze” and “Miranda” reinforce the record’s reliance on repetition and ambiance; featuring a dominant guitar phrase that echoes throughout its runtime, “Trellisaze” incorporates mechanical squawking and telephone beeps, while Halstead’s ghostly echo bellows over everything else. “Miranda” is even more harrowing, as it manipulates Rachel Goswell’s shrill chanting over an assault of apocalyptic yet languid soundscapes.

Juxtaposed with the fear and trepidation, there is also some optimism on the record, embodied by the slow-burning and anthemic cheer of “Blue Skied An’ Clear”, while “J’s Heaven” is equally uplifting yet for a different reason; mixing the tranquility of a campfire drawl with the grandiosity of a war chant, it epitomizes the record’s knack for making repetition sound so cinematic.

On its own, Pygmalion is an exceptional record, featuring gorgeous and meticulous production along with a stellar sense of cohesion – giants such as “Rutti” sit comfortably with minimalistic exercises such as “Cello” and “Visions of LA”. But as a piece of Slowdive’s scintillating discography, it is one of the greatest examples not only of how a band should redefine its creative parameters, but how it can go as far as to reinvent its respective genre. Surely, calling it a shoegaze record seems odd, as Pygmalion sounds more like one of the frontrunners of ambient post-rock, yet that’s what immortalizes this timeless record. It’s unlike anything you’d expect from Slowdive in 1995, but it sounds exactly like Slowdive – infinitely lush, infinitely expansive and infinitely replayable.


A1 Rutti 10:05
A2 Crazy For You 6:01
A3 Miranda 4:49
A4 Trellisaze 6:22
B1 Cello 1:42
B2 J’s Heaven 6:47
B3 Visions Of LA 1:48
B4 Blue Skied An’ Clear 6:54
B5 All Of Us 4:07

Additional information
Weight 350 g




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