Just For A Day Review

artist: Slowdive date: 04/16/2009 category: compact discs
Slowdive: Just For A Day
Released: Sep, 1991
Genre: Shoegazing, Dream Pop
Label: Creation Records / SBK
Number Of Tracks: 9
Just for a Day is the debut album by the band Slowdive. The album peaked at #3 in the UK Indie charts.
 Sound: 9
 Lyrics: 8
 Overall Impression: 9
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overall: 8.7
Just For A Day Reviewed by: toyboxmonster, on april 16, 2009
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Sound: While the bulk of 90's shoegaze bands (Lush, Ride, Moose) were sometimes just barely distinguishable from one another, Slowdive's music stood out with the dreamy space rock of Souvlaki and the avant-garde eccentricities of Pygmalion. Their first album, Just for a Day, is much more modest than the two that followed. This is a Slowdive who is just beginning to find it's voice, a Slowdive who has yet to define it's sound. The tracks on this album are, for the most part, fairly typical of the shoegaze/dreampop sound. Relying on layers of amience and swelling dynamics, this is an album of lush soundscapes that does sometimes resort to the typical shoegaze linearity that the band she'd on their sophomore effort. At this point in time, Slowdive's ambient textures were much more clearly indebted to My Bloody Valentine; this is an album that is carefully crafted and genuinely engaging, but which lacks the flair that defined this band on their later releases. // 9

Lyrics: As every other band belonging to the shoegaze genre, Slowdive was heavily influenced by sonic innovators My Bloody Valentine. The vocal aspect of Just for a Day plainly displays this influence. Whereas Slowdive's vocalists Neil Halstead and Rachel Goswell would take turns singing songs or switch roles for dynamic purposes, Just for a Day finds them singing together on almost all tracks, whether simply for timbral diversity or else to create fluttering harmonies. Neil Halstead's singing sometimes comes off as being a little forced, something that he corrected on later releases by sticking to a gentle spoken style and leaving the singing to Goswell. As far as lyrics go, this album is nothing particularly ground-breaking, though it features lyrics that are both tasteful and appropriate to the music. Though Slowdive doesn't compltely avoid the cliches of the genre (on "Celia's Dream", Halstead sings, "She flies/ She's gone to ride an angel's breath/ Gone to taste a dream/ And every time I call her/ A shadow crawls away"), the manner in which the lyrics are delivered vocally usually make up it. // 8

Overall Impression: Just for a Day is a difficult album to judge for a fan of Slowdive's later releases. Compared to Souvlaki and Pygmalion, it is nothing particularly impressive. Compared only to the rest of the shoegazing scene however, Just for a Day is an album that is much more carefully crafted, making use of swelling, pulsating textures and droning, single-note riffs to create an album's worth of mellow but often driving ambience. The instrumental "Erik's Song" is the track that stands out as being definitelt Slowdive, with minimalistic acoustic piano lines that foreshadow the analog textures that would make up Pygmalion. Apart from the obvious My Bloody Valentine influence that is audible on most of it's tracks, Just For a Day pays homage to The Velvet Underground through the exotic beats of "The Sadman" and maybe even to the Jesus and Mary Chain through the fuzzy rhythms of "Spanish Air". Unlike Souvlaki, which seems to be made up solely of singles, Just for a Day has no obvious singles; none of the tracks are quite as accessible as the ones on the following release. For the most part, they are long, ambient sweeps of sound, often resolving into the hazy instrumental passages that defined Slowdive at the time of Just for a Day's release. Observed simply as a 90's album, Just for a Day doesn't come off as anything particularly innvoative. Seen as a part of the early shoegazing scene and compared to the releases of bands like Moose, Lush, Blur, and the Telescopes, it is a much more accomplished release which reaches the ambience and texture that other bands never quite achieved. // 9

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