Ah Slowdive… the very word melts the hearts of some. Some described their music as “Cocteau Twins meets My Bloody Valentine,” ethereal voices and melodies tempered and focused by shards of feedback and buried under layers of noise. In recent years, this quintet dwindled down to a trio whose latest release sounded like everything good and bad about Nick Drake and Bob Dylan, and has spawned and inspired a whole slew of imitators and devotees.
Take this demo, for instance, sent to me by John Kupchik, a fellow member of the Slowdive mailing list. But rather than try to replicate the dreamy swirling pop of Catch the Breeze or Souvlaki, Kupchik instead draws inspiration from Slowdive’s techno leanings. Tracks like “Irish Smile” sound very similar to tracks like “Good Day Sunshine” or “Missing You” — slowly building synths hover over a beat that sounds slightly off, but still makes sense.
The EP drags a little bit in the middle. “The Sun In Your Eyes” sounds more like Locust’s repetitive meanderings on Weathered Well, along with a healthy dose of knob twiddling. The same also holds somewhat for “Break of Day,” but the EP finishes on a strong note with the faint Oriental touch of “Afterthoughts” and the synthetic string accompaniment of “Nocturnal Rhapsody,” both of which really remind me of some of Steve Scott’s instrumental work on Empty Orchestra.
In the letter that Kupchik sent me, he mentions he’s 19. I tried to start a band around that age as a vehicle for my inspired ramblings (the result of listening to “Charlotte Sometimes” one too many times), but we always ended up watching Cure videos. Lord knows we never sounded as good as this. There are definitely some rough edges here and there, but there’s also some very nice touches. It’s pretty obvious where The Waterfall Effect derives its sound, but it does so without sounding terribly derivative.