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Even a foggy sound mix couldn’t dull Slowdive’s dreamy set at FYF

Rachel Goswell of Slowdive at FYF Fest.

Not even two songs into Slowdive’s performance at FYF Fest on Friday, a distinctly “Californian scent,” shall we say, wafted over the crowd: smoke from both pot and palo santo.

“It smells quite green, if you know what I mean,” singer-guitarist Rachel Goswell noted.

Sweet and heady, it was a lot like the music emanating from the stage as white strobe lights swirled overhead.

After a 20-year hiatus in which admiration for the English shoegaze band only grew, Slowdive is touring behind a terrific new self-titled album. And FYF, which the band first played in 2014, proved that the five-piece, even after all these years, has neither a speck of age nor an ounce of fat on it.

“More reverb!” someone called out early on, perhaps a cheeky acknowledgment that the band was already drowning in gauzy effects.

“More reverb? Is there ever enough?” Goswell shot back.

Well, in this case, yes. Her ghostly vocals, along with those of powerhouse guitarist Neil Halstead, often evaporated before they ever made an impression. Mystique has always been part of the band’s allure, but at FYF, the sound mix should have been much sharper.

Otherwise, Slowdive was in peak form, interspersing new tracks (“Slomo,” “Star Roving”) with classics (“Catch the Breeze,” “When the Sun Hits”) that rippled over a swaying sea of fans with eyes shut and heads bobbing. They were on a different plane – pot and palo santo weren’t even needed.

Missy Elliott is all smiles on the Main Stage at FYF Fest at Exposition Park. Angel Olsen appears on the Lawn Stage at FYF Fest. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times) Fans at the entrance of the three-day FYF Fest on Friday afternoon.