The Pastels – “Slow Summits”
“Slow Summits” is the first studio offering by The Pastels in nearly 16 years. The album was released on the band’s own Domino Label, which has hosted such acts as Franz Ferdinand, Pavement, and Animal Collective. The Pastels were one of the early founders and supporters of the British indie movement know as Anorak, which later developed into the more widely known genre of twee pop. The band has narrowed its membership in the decades since its founding in 1981, and now only includes the core members of Stephan McRobbie (aka Stephen Pastel) and Katrina Mitchell; both of whom share vocal duties on the album.
True to its name, “Slow Summits” is a laid back collection of songs whose length and composition seem to be designed with relaxation and peace in mind. The jangly, two-minute numbers of the band’s past have been replaced by slow burners which play as if they are in no hurry to wrap up. Thirty years of singing hasn’t changed Stephen’s vocals, but the standout songs on the album are those that prominently feature Katrina Mitchell. The opener “Secret Music” and the closer “Illumination SOngs” are the most engaging on the album, though the entire work is worth multiple listens.
Review by Ben Shatz