The Pastels haven't released a full length album since (gasp) 1997. Illumination was one of my favourite records of that year, & I strongly suspect that Slow Summits will be one my favourites of 2013 too
Measured, stately, confidently shambling... The Pastels' current sound is several worlds away from the music they released in the 1980s. So much so that I wonder if the naysayers who continue to dismiss them as "twee", "cutie" or "indiepop" have actually bothered to listen to any of their records? Slow Summits manages to remind me of Miles Davis' exploratory '60s era, To Rococo Rot's pastoral Berlin electronica, & The V.U.'s gentler moments within it's all-too-brief 40 minutes duration, though it never wears it's influences on it's sleeve. It's an album that only gradually reveals it's secrets - a dozen plays in & I'm still hearing subtle melodies & snatches of lyrics that I'd not noticed previously. It's contemplative, soft-focus arrangements are, I think, the musical equivalent of an elegant Japanese watercolour &, as such, are perfectly complimented by Aggi Wright's lovely sleeve painting.
Definitely worth the wait, but I hope they don't leave us kicking our heels for quite as long next time.
This isn't an impartial view - I'm smitten and always have been. Took my 13 year old daughter to see Stephen et al last week in Preston at The Continental. Magic gig in a tiny room. My daughter asked for Katrina's set-list which she was kind enough to let her have (with an apology for having spilled water on it).
The nicest people making gorgeous music and getting better with age. Proof that being yourself is cool.