Album review: The Pastels, Slow Summits (Domino)


Save for the 2003 soundtrack to The Last Great Wilderness, this is the first Pastels album in 16 years, and one of their most engaging.

The evocative opening line of "Secret Music", "Rain's falling on a European street", sets the scene for a series of shadowy observations, reveries and reminiscences in songs like "Night Time Made Us" and "Wrong Light", while the flute and trumpet tints behind the gentle guitar figures make for an aptly pastel sound, akin to indie-rock channelling Bacharach. Stephen McRobbie's wan vocals remain an acquired taste, but the way the music lightly folds in dark and light, innocence and experience, reserve and euphoria, lifts the likes of "Slow Summits" and "Summer Rain".

Download: Secret Music; Night Time Made Us; Summer Rain