Quality: 5 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 5 out of 5
Although only an EP, Holding Our Breath stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Slowdive's masterful album, Souvlaki. I find Slowdive's music to be a narcotic, and this disc is truly addictive. I think it's a prime example for anyone trying to validate the shoegazer trend in the early 1990's. In fact, I'd play this for some one before the Bloody Valentine's Loveless.
Kicking of the EP is one of my favorite songs, "Catch The Breeze." The song is basically the definition of the word "dreamy." Unlike many shoegazing bands, it's not too difficult to make out the lyrics here, and they're not half bad. Of course the real hook here is in the atmospherics. I always felt that guitar effects were a bit of a crutch, but they really are used as their own imaginative instrument throughout this EP. Slowdive also makes the most out of codas on this recording. Even after they've delivered on "Catch the Breeze," they blast into a truly heavenly burst of noise.
An even better coda comes in the cover of Syd Barrett's (and James Joyce's I suppose) "Golden Hair." Flirting with blasphemy, I'm going to say that I prefer this to Barrett's version. Rachel Goswell's vocal are beautiful, yet almost disembodied sounding and truly creepy. And they one up the original with an original coda that once again climbs to the heavens. Perhaps they overuse this trick, but they do it so well.
The band continues to ride out this groove on the happily floaty "Shine," befor plunging into complete darkness on Albatross. The raging (yet still strangely beautiful) guitars and tribal percussion takes the listener straight into Dante's Inferno. The tom drums in particular never fail to send a cold shiver down my spine.
I really can't recommend this one highly enough.
Slowdive - Just For A Day (EP included on a bonus disc)