Thursday, March 19, 2009

Neil Halstead played at the Turf Club last night. His music has grown increasingly folkier over the years, since his shoegazing trailblazing days with Slowdive in the early 90s. Judging by the show, his folkward tendencies haven't abated. That's not a bad thing, though, as his voice can be described by any number of adjectives that end in -ous: mellifluous, sonorous... glorious? Yes, that too. The evidence is on last year's quite nice Oh! Mighty Engine, which would be the Pink Moon to Sleeping on Roads's Bryter Layter if Halstead wasn't such an optimist.

I'm all for nostalgia trips by aging musicians, but the Turf show was something different, something better: a man who's moved on to something new, who doesn't play the old songs in the same way anymore. When he brought back--to my surprise--the Slowdive classic "Alison," once the greatest song of all time, to close the set, he didn't haul out the effects pedals, instead just turned it into a country song. It's funny now to look back at 1993...

As for the video, isn't it a bit rote? It's full of all the swirling images you'd expect, but not very creative aside from that, nor able to convey the song's great beauty. And there's something about seeing all those Alison stand-ins that deflates the legend a little bit. I'd prefer for her to remain as enigmatic as possible.


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