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POP MUSIC REVIEWS : Flowing, Hypnotic Set by Slowdive

April 13, 1994|LORRAINE ALI

If the music of Slowdive could be bottled and sold, it would be marketed as an excellent de-stresser.

At the Roxy on Monday, the English quintet played flowing, hypnotic songs that often made your mind wander rather than demanding your attention. Slowdive isn't as original as, say, England's Curve and L.A.'s Medicine--two other bands from the same school of atmospheric noise--but it does the job of turning lots of feedback into delicate, smooth melodies.

Three guitarists created a flowing river of sound, using controlled distortion to smooth over the rough spots and make its mellow pop songs seamless. Guitarists Rachael Goswell and Neil Halstead took turns singing in airy, eerily similar tones that wafted in and out of the thick songs and became one with the instruments.

The band stood motionless, and the packed-in crowd stood just as still, as if numb, while the band played at least 10 numbers that could have been one long song.

Slowdive's escapist music is pretty, cold and detached--perfect for an in-house chill-out, with no emotional strings attached. But live, it needs a few more grounding elements to take full effect.

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