Slowdive Credit: Ingrid Pop

So what came first for the 90s-era shoegaze band: the reunion tour or the new album? So easy . . . it’s the reunion tour. Because as My Bloody Valentine and Ride and, yes, Slowdive began working the festival circuit years back—closely followed by sold-out theater tours—they all became inclined to pile on the hype of the shoegaze rediscovery by kicking off even more dust and even more threadbare gloom from those effect-pedal boards. The utility of it all seems debatable, but while Ride’s upcoming Weather Diaries is unlikely to be another Nowhere, and Slowdive’s brand-new self-titled record on Dead Oceans is not 1993’s Souvlaki, both will become rightful entries into a canon that has been unearthed anew. Realistic expectations, I guess. The latter of the two new ventures is undoubtedly loyal to shoegaze’s requisite tower of swirling, almost symphonic noise—though definitely less monolithic in construction—but Neil Halstead’s vocals in particular have lost some of their detachment in favor of presence (it’s possible!). Augmented by Rachel Goswell’s dry and airy vocals—beautifully so on its best track, “Star Roving”—the record skews toward a dreaminess that’s more indie rock than shoegaze, if you’re into splitting hairs. It’s still a Slowdive record, make no bones, but one that sounds nearly 25 years older than the band’s masterpiece, which it is.   v