It’s been roughly 13 years since shoegazer greats Slowdive called it quits. While most of that outfit went on to sunshinier pastures with Mojave 3, Christian Savill and his Monster Movie project are still toiling away in the genre he helped create. Nearly half of the tracks on All Lost have a the feel of a fossilized Souvlaki, Slowdive’s masterpiece. Songs like “Vanishing Act” and “Falling Into the Sun” have the standard mid-tempo downward guitar strum, but lack much of the blissful release of his former band’s work, leaving the melancholy more concrete roots in which to dig.
Funny enough, Savill and songwriting partner Sean Hewson have appropriated some California pop this time around to beautiful effect, like “Return to Yesterday” which coasts by like a less synthetic New Order. Full-fledged electronically propulsive post-punk manifests itself shortly after with the bizarrely Magnum P.I. theme-song-esque “Driving Through the Red Lights” — featuring lovely guest vocals from Rachel Staggs and a wondrously catchy chorus melody — as well as “Vertical Planes,” a short-lived flourish of synth nostalgia that is vocoded well past the point of comprehension.
Taking the album from start to finish, it’s almost like Savill and Hewson have split shoegazer’s singular sound into two distinct halves: the organic pathos and electronic bliss. As such All Lost can’t decide if it wants to sulk in the corner or dominate the dance floor, which, come to think of it, is exactly the inner turmoil of an angst-riddled teenager. It might not resonate as strongly as Mojave 3’s early work, but this disc is just as good as anything in Neil Halstead’s current set list rotation.
Graveface Records: www.graveface.com