The Pastels - Slow Summit
A lot can happen in 16 years. For Scottish indie legends The Pastels it's not quite been a period of hibernation; they did a soundtrack ten years ago and a split release with Tenniscoats at the turn of the decade, but you wouldn't necessarily describe it as a particularly productive time. If they were worried about how they were going to be received after so long away, they've pulled in friends like original Pastel Annabel Wright (Aggi) and Norman Blake as well as two-thirds of To Rococo Rot to offer some emotional and musical support.
Sonically, there are not a lot of surprises: it's all very Glasgow - which is fair enough. When you write the manual you're entitled to stick to what comes naturally. The vibe is genteel, with little bits of indie soul and easy-listening flutes and brass off-setting the standard Pastels template. 'Summer Rain' engages in a minor psychedelic flourish for its final minute or so while on 'Wrong Lights', Stephen Pastel does a passable impression of a laconic Edwyn Collins. Nevertheless, there are only nine tracks here (which hardly suggests a feverish craft) and of those nine, very few make the heart beat faster or will make you come over with the vapours. Instead, as the title implies, Slow Summit is just a bit of a slog.