SWERVEDRIVER – RAISE (1991)

So if you could wear out digital music, this weeks album of the week Raise by Swervedriver would be in shreds. My music super guru, S from the Levin desk, amidst naming a trillion other bands I need to check out, has lent me his copy of Raise. On the drive back from Taupo a couple of weekends back,  it proved an instant, instant  hit, right out of the box. While it is an oldie, its a newie to me, and recalls to me advice I’ve had in the past to get a copy, (my good friend N from the Herne Bay desk, was that you?).

Opener Sci-Flyer is just dripping with Bailterspace, and as a general flavour, for the unintiated, this captures for me much of the distorted, fuzzy, clangy soundscapes, but also the vibe – the dichotomy of the raw energy that courses through the shoegaze.

Better than that, Swervedriver have EQ spikes that channel Sonic Youth, frenzied electric outbreaks that sound like a lower BPM Dinosaur Jr. And the character of their sound belies their story. The cotton wool fuzz of My Bloody Valentine, the anglo-clang (I just call it Clangglo) of The Jesus and Mary Chain – label mates on Alan McGee’s Creation imprint, back in the primordial goop of the late eighties / early nineties.

Origianally, the group debuted with a series of  EPs — the frenetic Son of Mustang Ford, the immersive Rave Down, and the eclectic Sandblasted.
These three form the torso of this monster, but whats a torso without six other arms to flail and legs to kick? Why, thats the rest of the record of course, and my pick, the giant unwieldy head, is Deep Seat with its chiming verse and trilling guitar bungying off into a graunching abyss every chorus. Plus, that album cover is just so bad looking, you can smell the nineties on it without even playing the thing. (and J of the Oranga desk – you can hear the influence on The Superjesus through the whole thing, albeit the Superjesus seem sanitised by comparison)

Yes, Swervedriver have all of the big stupid noise threaded with subtle sophisticated layers that keep you, zombified, putting it back on again and again. Talk about repeat listen reward. Its like ear-crack.

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