Slowdive/Revolver The Boardwalk, Manchester
REVOLVER singer Mat leaps up on stage in leather trousers, yells "Kick It!" and launches into a bloodcurdling Joan Jett number, culminating in a screamed "We live in urban hell! We destroy rock'n'roll!" Uh, sorry. Wrong concert. Actually he sort of shuffles on, his improbably sheep-like bowlcut hiding his frightened little eyes, attempts a mark Gardnew pout and mumbles "This one's called 'Crimson' or 'Wave'. Or 'Painting Pictures'". Or something. Two fey verses are followed by the noisy bit (Revolver own every effects pedal mummy can buy), by two more verses etc, just like Ride's glorious "Dreams Burn Down", only nothing like it at all. The next one features a "Shimmering" into puntuated by a crashing Mondays drumbeat. It's called "Jewel". Fine. Except that Chapterhouse have already recoded it (they called it "Pearl").
This is alarming. We appear to be dealing with a generation of bands who have heard My Bloody Valentine's copyists without actually listening to the great band themselves. No, Paul Lester, another one of these bands deosn't make the world a better place. Fancying the audience isn't enough any more. We're talking seriously deminishing returns. Multiple (de)generation photocopies. Come on, kids! Chapterdrive and Slowmoose aren't the only options! YOU CAN BE ANYTHING! There are so many possibilities! Jane's Addiction, World Of Twist, Cranes, 808 State, Primal Scream, Manic Street preachers, Massive Attack, Young Gods... Or all at once! Or skip the present and dig around in car boot sales! Or don't be in a rock band at all. There are other ways to get a girlfriend.
Take a sample lyric: "I love you more than I'm letting on..." For f***'s sake, get a life! It's a sick world out there, and you're writing Hallmark greetings cards, Listen boys, leave university (Revolver are freshers at Queen Mary College), experience a few extremes! Then write some songs. If they're still crap you can always do an MA. Don't take it personally. Don't hate me because I'm the one to tell you. You know I'm right, and so do the more intelligent among your audience. You'll thank me one day.
Bands like Revolver have turned the whole noise/beauty interface into just another style. Like rhythm and blues. It's become possible to just go to a gig. To see a band. Truth is, we're in a 167/1977 situation, where everyone's mastered the sound of the moment (or, to be precise, the sound of 1988's "isn't Anything" - an album which should have been advertised with the slogan "One day, all bands will sound this way"), but only a handful know the way forward.
Revolver, like so many others, are hooked up on a major safety catch. Loaded? I doubt it. Half-cocked, I'm afraid. WHO KILLED IMAGINATION?
Take a deep breath. And then Slowdive go and blow my whole argument simply by being brilliant, wonderful, beautiful, and as if you'd never heard those words before. Slowdive are the final dream of a pill-cupboard suicide. Only the young and beautiful can carry off this terrible sadness with such glamour. Beacause only the young and beautiful have no right. This is the unacknowledged debt owed to Goth by The Scene That Suffocates Itself (Slowdive are named after a Siouxsie single, Rachel used to be a Reading Gothchick before she went au naturel). A few less skulls and bats, a bit more echo on the spiralling mock-eastern guitar lines, but the shadow cast by The Cure's "100 Years", Sisters of Mercy's "Reptile House" of The Banshees' "Overground" is long.
Rachel coos meaninglessly while the one with the Brian Jone haircut (they all have Brian Jones haircuts) does the Sonny to her Cher. Slowdive have got all the angles covered. Mercilessly perfect, and, er, effortlessly cool. If you can turn a blind ear to the enrmous cliches they deal in, Slowdive can take you higher than the sun.
By the third song I decide to buy a tee-shirt (only arselickers get things for free). By the time "Avalyn" has destroyed my critical faculties (Slowdive may be on the pastoral extreme, but this doesn't make them placid), pearly dewdrops are dropping from the ceiling.
These (here's the one I've been saving up) are sub-aqua lullabies. So i;ll let another one slip through the doors of my heart. But this could be the last time.
This piece, entitled 'Falling Upwards' appeared in the June 29 1991 issue of Melody Maker. The reviewer was Simon Price.
Computerised for Slowdive - A New Dream by Darren (MusicManic)