Squall Together Now
BIRMINGHAM EDWARD'S NO 8
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
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.
Pic: Martyn Goodacre
Originally Appeared in NME?
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