27 May 2007

Slowdive - Holding Our Breath (1991)

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.

Buy Me:
Slowdive - Just For A Day (EP included on a bonus disc)


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this fabulous post!
Very pappreciated indeed...(Part 3)

Anonymous said...

i love
this ep

you can't find catch the breeze
in any other album

exile103 said...

I'd love to get the three Slowdive EPs. Any chance of reposting or can you tell me the link addresses?

Anonymous said...


Liina said...

Being more than 4 years late commenting on this, I want to say that I accidentally purchased "Just for a Day" based on the link at the bottom of the "Holding Our Breath" review. (I just found your site last week and was checking out the archives). The description of "Holding Our Breath" sounds like exactly what I want to hear, and "Just for a Day" IS AWFUL!!! It doesn't even come close to being "psychedelic" imo, and leads me to wonder if I've misunderstood the definition of "shoegaze." Not complaining necessarily; I LOVE this blog and the work you've done to share psychedelic obscurities. I'm just really surprised that "Just for a Day" just sounds like shitty, dated goth to me.