Listeners have a lot of rock records to sift through these days, and sometimes being emotional and loud isn’t enough. For this new release from Swervedriver, the band are able to carve out fun songs but often with many familiar moments to them. Though the talent is there, Swervedriver will need to take more risks to wow us in the future.
Feedback and grit are leaking out from all the effects Swervedriver bring right from the start of this album, as “Mary Winter” sets the album off with a weight but its own kind of pop warmth too. Even as its dynamics tend to make the track a much more constant-chorus kind of listen, there’s something really exciting to how it guides this energy. While Swervedriver keep the stomp moving on “The Lonely Crowd Fades In The Air,” it lacks a lot of the same immediacy and the overall unique charms of other tracks on the record. That’s why the more blended delivery of “Future Ruins” can feel deep, as its sharp edges contrast its subtlety well. Even the groaning breaks in the latter half of the song start to kick out with such a life that there’s something new to keep you listening.
“Theeascending” takes its own route, as bridge-like moments burn into more explosive choruses and no part ends up as something inherently slow and filler. Though it does feel unusual at first, that’s what makes this and other Swervedriver songs stick out and become so memorable to us. There’s an all too familiar hum to “Drone Lover” that makes its additionally light vocals feel meddling at times. In its lushly expanded breaks, “Spiked Flower” sets a stage for its grinding tones and brings you in. Through this, all the growling vocals feel passionate and of-the-moment, which brings a kind of authenticity and sense of reality to the song’s central subject.
There’s a point where “Everybody’s Going Somewhere & No-One’s Going Anywhere” slips in and out of more moody moments, and it starts to feel like more an interlude than a statement on its own. In this way, Swervedriver build their album more as a whole than a bunch of mismatched pieces. Though “Golden Remedy” fits the same sonic mould of the record with flying colours, it basically just floats in this space without pushing out further.
While Swervedriver bring out so much more emotion in the guitar work of “Good Times Are So Hard To Follow,” it just feels so uninspired that it loses you between its more elaborate cries. To perhaps let out the rest of their more ambitious writing concepts, “Radio-Silent” plays equal parts to an experimental jam and a final bang. Though it would’ve been nice to see this kind of play spread throughout the record, it’s a great way to end things.
Words by Owen Maxwell