Slow Summits

Slow Summits

The Pastels' history on the Scottish music scene goes back to the '80s, but their profile has always been stronger among musicians who went off in their own directions. For their first full studio album since 1997's Illumination, The Pastels go beyond their basic lineup of Stephen McRobbie and Katrina Mitchell to include Gerard Love, Katrina's sister Alison, original member Annabel "Aggi" Wright, Norman Blake, members of To Rococo Rot and Japan's Tenniscoats, and even Glasgow-based composer Craig Armstrong, who provides the string arrangement on "Kicking Leaves." "Secret Music" starts things off, showing how The Pastels inspired bands such as Belle & Sebastian to tread lightly and always be melodic. "Summer Rain" expands the instrumental breaks to reflect their interest in texture; this has led The Pastels to scoring movie soundtracks, as the brief but beautiful instrumental "After Image" and the longer, more intense title track suggest. Recorded in Glasgow by John McEntire and Bal Cooke and mixed in Chicago by McEntire, Slow Summits captures a variety of moods, but none are better than the flute-inspired track "Wrong Light."

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