Just For A Day


Creation Records, 1991


REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


Of the ream of shoegazer albums that came out in the early 1990’s, Just For A Day might be the most straightforward. While releases by fellow kinsfolk Pale Saints, My Bloody Valentine and the like during the same period were more sophisticated and complex, this one by Slowdive is remarkably direct – at least, it should be. But it doesn’t seem so because the thick fog of indiscernible layers renders the prettiness in its simple tunes almost nonexistent.

The noise is loud, too dreary, but also tame. And it is just for this reason – the lack of bite – that my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Just For A Day could easily get wearisome. The closer “Primal” starts off hypnotically merry in sweet melodiousness, but gets gobbled up in swirls of nothingness fairly quickly. And without anything tangible, the fluff of ambience seems to only lumber, which drags even more, like on “Ballad Of Sister Sue,” when it gets gothic and almost New Age, at which point, instead of getting meditative, it gets somnolent.

On the contrary, the muted white noise explosion on “Celia’s Dream” makes sense as it builds in accordance with the melody, giving it a wonderful aural splendor without engulfing the song in its voracious appetite. “Waves,” deprived of any fluffiness, is as catchy and sweet-sounding as any cut off of the Stone Roses catalog. And although straight-arrow pop numbers are not one of the top aspirations on Just For A Day, this track is still one of its high points.

The album’s highlights, “Catch The Breeze,” “Brighter,” and “The Sadman,” unanimously, are ones where the cloud of music is balanced, making the blend of folky simplicity and the right measure of mystique seem very inviting. The instrumental “Erik’s Song” moves with the lazy dawdle of the rest of the album, but because the slow and sanguine notes of the piano that make up the entire song do not have to contend with heavy guitars, they become elegantly captivating.

A simple record that is also difficult to grasp (and a difficult one to sustain), Just For A Day, tends to hide too much. However, if the band gives away too much of its plain song structure and forsakes the abstract effects in its music, would it still retain the magic of what’s essentially shoegazer? Maybe there is beauty in the gagged screaming of guitars and overly droning vocals; maybe there isn’t any. That’s the enigma of shoegazer, which clearly is not for everyone.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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