Just For A Day

Slowdive - Just For A Day ©1991 Creation/SBK
1. Spanish Air
2. Celiaís Dream
3. Catch The Breeze
4. Ballad Of Sister Sue
5. Erikís Song
6. Waves
7. Brighter
8. The Sadman
9. Primal

A hugely influential album in the so-called shoegaze tradition, Just for a Day wanders through jangling rock and dense ambient torrents, heavily delayed clean guitar tones strewn over waves of reverb-laden white noise. It sounds like a very stoned version if the Cure, turning up the complexity and washing out their sound, with nary a plaintive Robert Smith warble in sight. Considering that the album is a debut, there is little immaturity, the somewhat tinny production the only indication of its underground origins. Rachel Goswell and Neil Halstead provide vocals, their voices effective but generally (and appropriately) buried in the sea of guitar warmth and fitful percussive undercurrents. The entire album has the consistency of an ocean, quietly drifting under a moon, violently crashing into cliffs, or washing over everything in rhythmic waves, sometimes lucid but often opaque. In some respects Slowdive resembles a metal band, but only in that they explore areas of controlled chaos, of structuring white noise into something possessing emotional content. But whereas metal bands delve into the density of an undercurrent, bands like Slowdive push for a feeling of immense openness and volume, of an oceanís surface. The sound on Just for a Day would only be developed over the course of two more albums, but the use of textured noise and suggestive vocals were profoundly influential on both the shoegaze rock and ethereal movements. Romantic and melancholic, but also uplifting in an impossibly otherworldly way, Just for a Day is an important milestone in textured pop music. Listen to it on a beach.

Review by James Slone

Review date: 07/2002

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