Slowdive is a band that can be described in a single word: stimulating; the English band made their debut with Just For A Day and created a wave within the independent community. The record’s floating methods of creation and accessibility did wonders for Slowdive’s sound, landing them on the number three spot on the UK Indie Chart back in 1991 when Just For A Day was first released. Now, the album feels like a hidden gem in a monumental wave of records being released both independently, and the mass market production from substantial record labels.
Slowdive created an over-produced sound for Just For A Day and was a major step in the genre of shoegaze where a repetition of sounds is played to establish the backing of each track with assorted distortion and effects from pedals. The genre reaches into the sub-roots of new wave and creates a dreamscaped feeling of wonder with each incoming track. There is so much room to become a creative space for Slowdive and they resort to using their ethereal voices, sensualized stringed instruments and gentle percussion to fill most of the record’s sound and sense of direction. With Rachel Goswell on vocals and guitar, Neil Halstead on guitar, vocals, and keyboards, Nick Chaplin on bass, Simon Scott on the percussion, and Christian Savill on guitar, Slowdive makes gradual strides into a future of atmospheric rock where each track can feel like hours in only a span of minutes.
With the opening track “Spanish Air”, Slowdive makes their first move in the chess game of Just For A Day and leads the momentous building toward a bright future of a 43-minute journey filled with hopeful instrumentals and essential vocals that capitalize on the durable foundation of Slowdive’s sound. Their sound is quite bold and dramatic, sounding in similar variety to a movie score that would include symphonic styled of playing in the way that the strings are being manipulated makes Slowdive’s precise playing stand out just that much more. It is immediately noticed in the final moments of “Spanish Air” as the voices stop, and the final grouping of instruments are playing together. It almost acts as a dramatic opening shot and first glance into the rest of a glorious journey of fleshed out beauty, cleverly disguised within incoming tracks.
The gentleness of Slowdive’s style makes their music an approachable medium and their progression of tracks are delightful. Slowdive shows true promise with Just For A Day and is something that blends together well with itself, seguing the multiple tracks perfectly with no sudden jumps or cuts in or out of any action. This style of mastering and mixing is an aid in the process of engrossing the listener into the album, making it feel more as one complete piece than just a thrown together, strung piece of art. Just For A Day is truly a beautiful piece of music history and the appealing nature of the instrumentals, the handsome progression, and the under-bearing sense of sound never engulfs, but instead tenderly surrounds and comforts.
The final moments of Just For A Day are truly special however, as Slowdive erupts in a wall of sound; then suddenly stops and disappears into the silence. It is an interesting dichotomy of emotion that makes itself apparent for only a few moments, before leaping back into the sun-setting streets, and into the spirits of man.