PRINCESS CHARLOTTE, LEICESTER
SWERVEDRIVER are terrible. Yes, terrible, dictionary definition four: "causing awe, formidable".
The sheer urgency of their turbocharged
roadhouse blues is overpowering; the mixed moods of poignancy, nostalgia and loss are converted
into... fury? Aggression? Not exactly. Desperation is the word. There's always been a certain
motorway romance about Swervedriver, a touch of "Bat Out Of Hell" / "Born To
Run"last-chance-on-the-highway melodrama. "But steady on a minute," I hear you cry, "are you
talking about the same Swervedriver?" Time to explode a few myths.
Myth one: Swerved river are an
alrighHsh bunch of crusties who chanced upon a Creation deal, but aren't really worth bothering to
check out. Fact: no one else has come closer to replicating the planet- pulverising power of
MBV's "You Made Me Realise". Tonight, Swervedriver arrive in this godforsaken ghost town
feeling jetlagged after returning from America (which seems as good a metaphor for their sound as
I'm likely to come up with), and some mischievous swine has stolen half their effects pedals, but
they still manage to turn in one of the most unrelentingly thunderous performances I've seen all
Myth two: Swervedriver are ugly. Okay, they'll never see their 21 t birthdays again, and
they may get fewer groupies than the journo scum who write about them. But Adam and Adrian (black
dreads/blond dreads) are a picture of pure Warholian symmetrical cool, and at least as pretty as
Myth three: All the songs sound like "Rave Down" and "Rave Down" sounds like
HuskerDu playing Dinosaur. Well, you've got me there. As far as influences go, Dinosaur and the Du
are obvious, right down to the mock-yankee accent which Adam affects. "Sandblast", the excellent
new single (which miraculously appears on the radio the moment we enter the hotel), has the same
rainwashed melancholy as Dinosaur's "Yeah We Know". But Dinosaur are too often neutered by the
lazy wackiness which inevitably arises from being a Rich Kid's Toy. Swervedriver can't offord
the excess baggage of wackiness: it's all too serious for that. Sa Swervedriver blow the bollocks
off Dinosaur, along with any other useless dangly bits, streamline their shoddy poignancy and use
it to fuel a Du-style full-on headlong assault.
"Son Of Mustang Ford" remains Swerved river' s
finest five minutes: this is the song that should've been playing on the stereo during the car
crash scene in "Wild At Heart". One poor soul takes the implicit death wish too literally and
stagedives himself straight into an ambulance with a broken neck. That's what I call "blown away".
As a fellow Creation band would put it, Fucking Drivin' Or What?
They run me right down too. Tyre tracks all across my back, for sure. If you'll be so kind as to imagine you haven't read this word in every mendacious review of a mediocre band ever written, you'll allow me to conclude that
Swervedriver are literally awesome. A 16 megaton Silver Machine with no hand brake. Don't say I
didn't warn you: just take care crossing the rood.
Pic: Mike Morton
Originally Appeared in Melody Maker
Copyright © Melody Maker.