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Blistering Song of the Day: Slowdive's "When the Sun Hits"

By: David E. Gehlke

Slowdive – “When the Sun Hits”
From 1993’s Soulvaki (SBK/Creation Records)

Repeatedly name-dropped by the likes of Katatonia’s Jonas Renkse and Dutch atmospheric rockers The Gathering, English shoe-gazers Slowdive’s residual effect on metal is far-reaching. Along with My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and Ride, Slowdive were part of a burgeoning shoegaze rock scene in the early 90’s, with the Brits producing a groundbreaking album (Soulvaki) in 1993. A full listen to said album helps connect the dots…one can see where Katatonia, Arctic Plateau, and Alcest picked up a lot of their bleak ethereal joy from. In fact, so revered by Renkse Slowdive were, that the frontman wore one of the band’s t-shirts in the promotional shots for 1998’s Discouraged Ones.

The album’s featured track is “When the Sun Hits,” a bright, but lonely song that blends the dual vocals of Nick Halstead and Rachel Goswell into a wall of sheer despondence. With delay pedals a-plenty and sonorous chords being gently strummed, “When the Sun Hits” is for lack of a better term, simply beauteous in its hang-your-head low glory. Slowdive called it a day in 1995, but their understated legacy can be heard all over the place. And for those who live and die by some of the bands Slowdive helped spawn, it’s a mini-revelation to hear where it all started.


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