Thursday, October 23, 2008

Swervedriver - Raise - 1991


A molten hybrid of Daydream Nation-era Sonic Youth, the drill-press rhythms of the Stooges, and early Dinosaur Jr., Raise sounds like a record made by young record shop rats from the Midwest. Adding to this notion is the lyrical fascination with cars. With this in mind, it's no small wonder that the Oxford, London-based Swervedriver found a home on even the most Anglophobic turntables in the States. Through loads of effects pedals and buried vocals, the band was initially lumped in with the shoegaze scene. But with a heavier aesthetic caused by their love for the above-mentioned bands, as well as the likes of the well-named Loop and Spacemen 3, they were unique -- even with their earliest material. Oddly, Raise only contains six new songs for those who bought their excellent trio of preceding singles. The new tracks rival their greatness. Jimmy Hartridge's and Adam Franklin's guitars definitely carry a soaring, seering quality, but the record is largely bass driven, thanks to Adi Vines' thick lines (see "Pile Up" and "Sunset" for the best examples). And though buried to the point of serving merely as another instrument, Franklin's vocals sound like that of a road trip lifer, made weary by constant sun exposure on the eyes. Other than what might seem as the band trying too hard to prove themselves through complexity, there aren't many faults to be found. Though it does seem to favor texture over anything else, the somewhat murky production suits the songs well. It actually sounds dark, like green-skied, pre-tornado weather. It's not too hard to pick apart each instrument on each song, but they still sound a bit mashed together. A fantastic debut that merely hinted at the band's talents. -AMG

If you like "Raise" get it here!

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1 comment:

Amigos De Los Monos said...

This is a fantastic album-- don't miss it! I saw them in 1993 and this year. They were better in 1993, but then again this music doesn't translate to well to the live environment.

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