Souvlaki (album)

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Souvlaki
Souvlaki (album) cover.jpg
Studio album by Slowdive
Released 17 May 1993 (1993-05-17)
Recorded 1992 at:
Genre
Length 40:40
Label
Producer Slowdive
Slowdive chronology
Just for a Day
(1991)
Souvlaki
(1993)
Pygmalion
(1995)
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 on 17 May 1993 in the UK and on 8 February 1994 in the US. The album was the group's last in the Shoegazing and Dream Pop style before they took a more ambient and post-rock direction on their third and final studio album, Pygmalion.

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."[1]

The album includes songwriting contributions from Brian Eno on "Sing" and "Here She Comes".

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.[2] 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 and Dub music as influences for the track "Souvlaki Space Station""[2]

The album was mixed by Ed Buller who had previously worked with Suede and Spiritualized.[2]

Release[edit]

Souvlaki was released on 17 May 1993 and peaked at 51 in the UK Charts on the 12 June 1993, 19 places lower than their debut album Just for a Day and only remained in the chart for one week.[3]

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 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.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[4]
Pitchfork 9.3/10[5]

Souvlaki initially had a mixed reception from critics, with some reviews bordering on ridicule. Dave Simpson in his review for the album for Melody Maker said "...‘Sing’ aside, I would rather drown choking in a bath full of porridge than ever listen to it again".[1] 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.[6]

Despite the initial criticism, the album has 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".[5] Jack Rabid, writing for 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."[7]

Online music magazine Pitchfork released a documentary about the album in 2015 as a part of the Pitchfork Classic series.[2]

In 1999, Ned Raggett ranked the album at No. 83 on his list of "The Top 136 or So Albums of the Nineties".[8]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Neil Halstead, except where noted. 

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Alison"     3:51
2. "Machine Gun"     4:28
3. "40 Days"     3:16
4. "Sing"   Brian Eno, Slowdive 4:51
5. "Here She Comes"     2:19
6. "Souvlaki Space Station"   Halstead, Slowdive 5:58
7. "When the Sun Hits"     4:47
8. "Altogether"     3:42
9. "Melon Yellow"     3:55
10. "Dagger"     3:33
Total length:
40:40

Personnel[edit]

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

References[edit]

External links[edit]