I never quite understood how Swervedriver got labelled a shoegaze band. I mean, the Adam Franklin-fronted act favored loud tunes but there was focus in them, and little of the atmospheric explorations that some other players in that scene favored. And while Franklin is still interested in volume as a musician, he's offered up a remarkably direct record in Future Ruins, out on Friday via Dangerbird Records.
Opener "Mary Winter" roars like a truck going down a highway, a neat riff ridden into overdrive by Franklin and his crew, while the lovely "Good Times Are So Hard To Follow" marries an elegant instrumental-line with a really powerful hook. It's propulsive and contemplative all at the same time, and, really, few do this sort of thing better than Franklin. Elsewhere, the wonderfully-titled "Everyone's Going Somewhere And No One's Going Anywhere" unfurls in a dreamy haze, the drums from Mikey Jones beating time into the fog, while the rougher "Drone Lover" soars on the back of a melody that Teenage Fanclub or The Posies would kill for. "The Lonely Crowd Fades In The Air" chimes, a precise attack on all cylinders, while the more spacious "Theeascending" benefits from the presence of Mick Quinn in the band. The ex-Supergrass bassist finds ways to buttress the formidable guitar assault of Franklin and Jimmy Hartridge throughout Future Ruins and, most of the time here, the four-piece sounds confidently loud and enthusiastic.
Future Ruins finds Adam Franklin refining the Swervedriver sound a bit, such that the band still packs a loud punch, even as the prevalence of more mid-tempo numbers suggests something more considered and measured. There's force here, for sure, but also a kind of graceful exploration of both guitar-noise as well as the silence both before and after the feedback. Full of nuance and charm, Future Ruins seems to this reviewer one of the most consistent things Adam Franklin's offered up in ages.
Future Ruins will be out on Friday from Dangerbird Records.
More details on Swervedriver via the band's official website.
[Photo: Uncredited promotional image]