Summer Rain - The Pastels (from 'Slow Summits' LP)
Go on, take a time machine and nip back to 1986. Take a look at the ‘Indie’ charts in the NME or Melody Maker. Place your bets on which of the bands will still be making records in 2013. Place a further bet on which ones will still sound both comfortably familiar and yet simultaneously fresh and contemporary. Now hands up all the liars who bet on The Pastels.
Don’t get me wrong, I dug The Pastels back in 1986. I just wouldn’t in a million years have thought that I’d be listening to new records by them some twenty seven years in the future. Mind you, I dare say the concept of twenty seven years in the future would have been the furthest thing from my mind back then, so maybe it’s a moot point.
Regardless, ‘Slow Summits’ was another magical chapter in the tale of The Pastels and told the story of middle-age gentility merging with the fierceness of individual identity. In hindsight perhaps that strength of belief in knowing the self (whilst simultaneously being anxious to continue to develop and never stagnate) is what has always been The Pastels’ key quality. In their younger years perhaps some interpreted that as arrogance and that is fair enough (if there is a time for arrogance it is in youth, after all) but these days when I think of The Pastels I think of generosity of spirit and warmth of heart. But in a Punk, not a Hippie way, of course.