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Squall Together Now


AS FAR as laboured metaphors go, comparing Swervedriver's well-marshalled attack to crusing along the network of freeways and flyovers that crlss-cross this city like some errant ring-road is a non-starter. For one, hip-hop Is the real late 20th Century Jeep-blaster sound. And, more acutely, this motley collection of carefully dishevelled dropouts from polite society have greater things on their mind - like soul.
If soul is the brimming over of emotions to move the listener beyond apathy, and not Just a way of compartmentallslng black music, then Swervedriver are soulful as fuck. Watching the way singer and guitarist Adam grimaces, struts and generally comes across like a man possessed trying to keep stable, you know he's talking about things that are important to him, not just a shopping list of hurts and lost loves.
Consequently, linking the most underrated members of the Creation clique with Dinosaur Jr Is lazy and somewhat myopic. They certainly don't espouse laissez-faire and bored, spoilt-brat attitudes like J Mascls is wont to, and the noise squalls they painstakingly construed are more open and less alienating, less self-absorbed. These guys commune with an audience of like-minded souls, constantly giving the Impression that they're all prtvyto certain knowledge and wisdom lost on the general public. Swervedriver shift moods and focus at will, fashioning a kind of meta-pop in the process. I say 'pop' because it's only a matter of time before hordes of refuseniks get in on the secret, and anyway, just think about Metalllca: Isn't that a pop group? Buzzwords and catchphrases abound and, while 'Rave Down' is their most enduring song, Its compatriots don't pale in comparison. Try resisting the new one that physically samples the bassllne from 'Blrdland' by Weather Report and still wake up comparing them to generic Ameri-Indie acts.
It used to be easy to dismiss Swervedriver as a tuneless racket but, with their recent infusion of confidence and unstoppable drive, with the cogent use of the wah-wah as something beyond an affectation, with the imaginary keyboard sound seeping out of guitars, they're finding an individual way out of the morass of noisenlks and saying somethlng wlth it. It's a wonder what imagination can do.
Dele Fadele

Pic: Martyn Goodacre

Originally Appeared in NME? Copyright © NME?.