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Pygmalion

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Album Review

Pygmalion is the most abstract of Slowdive's albums; after moving from the sugary pop of Just for a Day to the more mature and more experimental Souvlaki, the band began to incorporate even more elements of ambient electronica — drum loops, samples, and songs even less tangible than on previous releases. There seem to be two prevailing opinions of the album, among Slowdive fans: either (a) it's disappointingly "out there," since it doesn't work with the conventional pop underlying the sounds of Souvlaki, or (b) it's absolutely brilliant, taking their sound into the realms it was always destined to go. The second opinion seems a little more reasonable; tracks like "Blue Skied an' Clear" and "Crazy for You" demonstrate that the songs are still in there, somewhere — they're just buried under more abstract sounds than before. The album is not for those seeking a direct and solid song under the surface — but for anyone who appreciates the indirect and intangible, it's a stylistic masterpiece.

Biography

Formed: 1989 in Reading, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '10s

Commonly identified as shoegaze, Slowdive nonetheless exhibited a broader set of inspirations -- one that spanned four decades, including folk-rock, dub, and ambient techno -- than the majority of their '90s contemporaries. A combination of geographic origin, labelmates such as My Bloody Valentine and Ride, and a sustained predilection for dreamlike harmonies and psychedelicized layers of guitar, led to inevitable restrictive classification. The band's distinctive sound continually evolved from their...
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