Souvlaki (album)

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Souvlaki (album) cover.jpg
Studio album by
Released17 May 1993 (1993-05-17)
Slowdive chronology
Just for a Day
Singles from Souvlaki
  1. "Alison"
    Released: February 1994

Souvlaki is the second studio album by the English rock band Slowdive. Recorded in 1992, it was released in the United Kingdom on 17 May 1993 by record label Creation, then on 8 February 1994 in the United States.

The album peaked at number 51 on the UK Albums Chart, and, despite an initial mixed reception from critics, has since received acclaim and been hailed as a classic of the shoegazing genre.

Background and recording[edit]

Prior to writing the album, band members Rachel Goswell and Neil Halstead had ended their relationship and Halstead began to spend more time writing songs alone, a process that had been completed by the full band in the past.[3]

The album's title was taken from a skit by The Jerky Boys, where one of the duo prank called a hotel manager asking him to perform sexual acts on their wife. Upon learning the manager was Greek, the caller says "My wife loves that Greek shit... She'll suck your cock like souvlaki." [4]

Early demos for the album were influenced by Joy Division and Low by David Bowie. These demos were initially rejected by Creation Records boss Alan McGee, but he later decided to give the band full creative control over the album. Slowdive asked Brian Eno to produce the album and he declined. However, he agreed to do a couple of days of recording with Halstead, and out of these sessions came the tracks "Sing" and "Here She Comes". Following these sessions Halstead began to take greater influence from ambient music and has cited Aphex Twin, dub music, and early drum and bass as influences for the track "Souvlaki Space Station".[3]

The album was mixed by Ed Buller, who had previously worked with Suede and Spiritualized.[3]


Souvlaki was released on 17 May 1993 and peaked at 51 on the UK Albums Chart on the 12 June 1993, nineteen places lower than their debut album Just for a Day, and only remained in the chart for one week.[5]

The album's US release was delayed for nearly a year and includes the previously unreleased cover of "Some Velvet Morning" (written by Lee Hazlewood and originally recorded by Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra in 1967) and three tracks from the band's 1993 5 EP, comprising the four US release bonus tracks. A two-disc remastered re-issue of the album was released in 2005 by Castle Music, a subsidiary label of Sanctuary Records.


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[2]
Q3/5 stars[9]
Record Collector5/5 stars[10]

Souvlaki initially had a mixed reception from critics, with some reviews bordering on ridicule. Dave Simpson of Melody Maker wrote: "...'Sing' aside, I would rather drown choking in a bath full of porridge than ever listen to it again".[12] In 2015, the band and Creation Records boss Alan McGee stated they felt that when the album was released dream pop and shoegazing had become unfashionable and the music press were more interested in Britpop bands like Oasis.[3]

Despite the initial criticism, the album has subsequently received widespread acclaim from contemporary critics. In his retrospective review, Nitsuh Abebe of Pitchfork called the album "a bit of an Essential Slowdive in itself".[8] Paste called the album "the definitive shoegaze statement".[13] Jack Rabid of AllMusic described the album as "quiet, moving, and aggressive simultaneously, mixing trance-like beauty with the deepest delayed guitar sounds around, a sound at once relaxing, soothing, and exciting, and most of all harshly beautiful."[2]

Pitchfork released a documentary about the album in 2015 as a part of the Pitchfork Classic series.[3] In 1999, critic Ned Raggett ranked the album at number 83 on his list of "The Top 136 or So Albums of the Nineties".[14] In 2016, Pitchfork listed the album at number 2 on their list of ″The 50 Best Shoegaze Albums of All Time″.[15]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Neil Halstead, except where noted.

1."Alison" 3:51
2."Machine Gun" 4:28
3."40 Days" 3:16
4."Sing"Brian Eno, Slowdive4:51
5."Here She Comes" 2:19
6."Souvlaki Space Station"Rachel Goswell, Slowdive5:58
7."When the Sun Hits" 4:47
8."Altogether" 3:42
9."Melon Yellow" 3:55
10."Dagger" 3:33
Total length:40:40


Additional personnel
  • Brian Eno – keyboards and treatments on "Sing" and "Here She Comes"


  1. ^ Trunick, Austin (11 August 2014). "Slowdive on Their Reunion, 'Souvlaki,' Creation Records, 'Pygmalion,' and Shoegazing". Under the Radar. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Rabid, Jack. "Souvlaki – Slowdive". AllMusic. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Watch the Classic on Slowdive's 'Souvlaki'". Pitchfork. 16 June 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  4. ^ Watson, Ian (2005-11-21). "sleeve notes for slowdive album souvlaki". Souvlaki (booklet). Slowdive. Castle Music. p. 4. CMEDD1245. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  5. ^ "Slowdive | Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Slowdive: Souvlaki". NME: 31. 29 May 1993.
  8. ^ a b Abebe, Nitsuh (28 November 2005). "Slowdive: Just for a Day / Souvlaki / Pygmalion". Pitchfork. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  9. ^ "Slowdive: Souvlaki". Q (83): 100. August 1993.
  10. ^ "Slowdive: Souvlaki". Record Collector: 86. Souvlaki appeared as a fully-formed masterpiece...
  11. ^ Collins, Andrew (July 1993). "Slowdive: Souvlaki / Verve: A Storm in Heaven". Select (37): 92.
  12. ^ "Sleeve Notes of Slowdive Album Souvlaki". Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  13. ^ Schonfeld, Zach (31 January 2014). "Five Reasons Slowdive's Souvlaki Trumps Loveless". Paste. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  14. ^ Raggett, Ned. "The Top 136 or So Albums of the Nineties". Freaky Trigger. Archived from the original on 19 February 2011. Retrieved 6 March 2011.
  15. ^ "The 50 Best Shoegaze Albums of All Time". 24 October 2016. Retrieved 22 Sep 2018.

External links[edit]