There's something about these - fortunately rare - early morning shifts I'm doing at the morning that absolutely requires a bit of heart-starting, hard-driving music to get me to work. So I was happy to launch Swervedriver despite having never really sampled their music before, and even happier to discover that they actually sing, not shout, their tunes. As regular readers will know, I hate shouty music, be it from the metal, rock or rap genres. I can make some exceptions for punk but only in short bursts.
I liked this, and I'll play it again. What's more, I'll listen to more albums, if they're all this good. While it's not what I'd pick for a lazy day at home, I'm sure it'd motivate me to perform my housework chores with more vim and vigour. Plus the lyrics are good, even poetic, and I found myself singing along.
VERDICT: TURN IT UP
Part of the 'shoe-gazer' genre, Swervedriver were also-rans to bigger names such as My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Lush and Ride. Like most categorisations, the label only fit when viewed a particular way. The reality is this band were only labelled as such due to the fact they came from the same district and played in the same clubs (often on the same bill as a few of them - it was Ride who gave a Swervedriver demo to Creation and led to them being signed).
More influenced by The Stooges and Husker Du, Swervedriver's sound would probably better be described as an amalgam of past and present trends in rock music, a melding of punk, psychedelia and grunge. (I've ranted before about why I hate labelling music and this is a perfect example of why). The reality is this is fuckin' kick-arse music, despite whatever label you wanna apply.
Mezcal Head is their follow up to their great debut, Raise, and sees them defining their sound and dramatic lyrics. From the opener For Seeking Heat to the closing suite Never Lost That Feeling/Never Learn, it is a winner. It is also the most accomplished and confident example of their work, although their third release, Ejector Seat Reservation, also has some very fine moments. My copy of Raise walked out of a share house years ago and I never replaced it. I'm going to have to add yet another name to that ever growing list.
The most unfortunate part of the Swervedriver story is the lack of faith the recording industry exhibited in this band, despite critical praise and a dedicated following. This led to the band going on hiatus in 1998 and not returning for a decade, when they completed a very successful world tour. Without naming names, I'm sure there are some record companies who are still kicking themselves for their appalling lack of faith. But then, this is nothing new.
This is Forgotten Gem number two for April.
VERDICT: TURN IT UP
For further information: http://www.swervedriver.com/
In our collection we also have Ejector Seat Reservation and 99th Dream