The-pastels-M-Review-No26THE PASTELS

Slow Summits


Though they haven’t released an official album in 16 years, the Pastels haven’t kept silent. A film soundtrack in 2003 and collaboration with the Japanese band Tenniscoats in 2009 helped the band to evolve its sound, as has a continuously revolving line-up. With Slow Summits, the Pastels’ move from shambolic rock to subdued, off-kilter pop seems complete. Their sound has changed shape, and the thinned-out guitars suggest they no longer need to hide behind fuzz. Instead, they supplement spindly guitars with puffy flutes and horns. This shift in arrangements also reflects a change in production. In an age of digital recordings that are either highly polished or intentionally degraded, Slow Summits has a genuine analog quality. This homespun approach leaves space for frayed reverb and ad hoc orchestras. Katrina Mitchell’s soft soprano may be better suited to this aesthetic than Stephen McRobbie’s atonal tenor, but the Pastels have never striven for fluidity. –Amanda Farah


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