2019 album also available in CD.
British alternative rock legends Swervedriver are to release their brand new album ‘Future Ruins’. In 1990s the band were originally associated with "shoegazing", however their heavier rock & roll style also related them to the grunge genre coming from the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Some music writers considered them to be Britain's answer to this sound. Regardless of labels, the band's mix of storming and swirling guitar experimentation often crossed into psychedelia, coupled with mystical lyrics that often praised the nihilism of sports cars, racing and the open road.
“Space travel rock’n’roll” – that’s how the band initially self-identified their sound. This was back in the 1990s, before the aspirational dreams of the computer age collided with reality. Across the four-album arc of their first era – ‘Raise’ (1991); ‘Mezcal Head’ (1993); ‘Ejector Seat Reservation’ (1995); ‘99th Dream’ (1997) – Swervedriver made music that was all about the journey: songs called “For Seeking Heat”, “Planes Over The Skyline”, “Juggernaut Rides”, “93 Million Miles From The Sun And Counting”. Swervedriver simulated the thrill of propulsion, the euphoric arrival, the anticipation of going back again (or not)… of moving on.
And move on they did. During 10 years in absentia, the band’s legend grew. Sages spoke mistily of these four desert rock horsemen of the apocalypse who came from Oxford and were shunned as exiles in their own land. In 2005, a two-disc anthology was compiled with the band’s involvement, and foretold a resurrection. Sure enough, the trip resumed in 2008, with Swervedriver encountering the acclaim they ought to have enjoyed a decade earlier. A fifth album, ‘I Wasn’t Born To Lose You’, emerged in 2015, a mere 17 years after its predecessor, and trumpeted some eternal Swervedriver virtues: the intricate, fissile guitar patterns of Adam Franklin and Jimmy Hartridge, baked hard then dispatched in giant monolithic waves by the tactile rhythm section. As the opening song “Autodidact” had it: “Holy fuel forever spilled”.
So much for the resurrection, now for the reckoning. The new Swervedriver album ‘Future Ruins’, a two-word précis of its dread thrills. “There’s a lot of foreboding with regard to the future on this album,” agrees Adam Franklin. “Space is in there a lot too. In the first song, the character is a spaceman who’s trying to remember what life is really like. Also, it could be about somewhere in the world where winter isn’t like the winter here. A sunny place, but it’s December or January and you’re trying to remember winter. Something’s going on.”
That something began in October 2017, with a two-week stint of tracking at MAKE Records Studio in Los Angeles. There quickly followed a further 10 days’ vocals and overdubs at Seaside Studios in Brighton. Stoking the creative energies was engineer TJ Doherty. A Grammy winner for his work on Wilco’s A Ghost Is Born, his diverse credit list also includes Lou Reed and Steely Dan, Stephen Malkmus and Joanna Newsom, Sonic Youth and Selfish Cunt. The final 10 tracks were then mixed in spring 2018, as the band toured Europe – again, infusing the recordings with road-slick fumes. Future Ruins exhibits Swervedriver’s fabled widescreen escapism, but with a tension that echoes a sleeve image of Coney Island in skeletal monochrome, like a post mortem photograph of a failed utopia. ‘Future Ruins’ presents a band moving with real time/real life vitality. It showcases new tricks and classic hallmarks.