Release Date: Jan 25, 2019
Record label: Dangerbird Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Shoegaze
"Don't it a comeback, I've been here for years," once went the wise words of LL Cool J. His infamous words apply just as much to '90s shoegazers Swervedriver, who split back in 1998, reformed a decade later, and released previous album, 'I Wasn't Born To Lose You' in 2015. Sixth studio album 'Future Ruins' is exquisite, featuring jaw-dropping songs that tap into the human condition and what it means to be alive in 2018. Themes of foreboding about the future feature prominently, but the music is full of the complex fuzzy maelstroms that made many fall in love with the band in the first place.
As one of the key figures in the birth of the musical genre that came to be known as shoegaze, not to mention one of Creation Records' pivotal signings during the label's halcyon era, Swervedriver's legendary status is already cemented. While the two records the band released for Creation didn't exactly follow any given template as such, their influence has undoubtedly played a part in the development of experimental guitar music ever since. So it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that Future Ruins, their sixth LP and second since 2008's reunion ranks highly alongside those past glories from yesteryear.
Swervedriver were something of an anomaly on Creation Records back in the early 1990s. Too centred on Americana-style themes of travelling and escape to justifiably be labelled shoegaze, too noisy to be crusty, too crusty looking to be post-punk - this was a band with identity problems for the general public at large. They always preferred the label of "space travel rock and roll" which was befitting.
Photo by Steve Gullick Swervedriver was always a bit too heavy and abrasive to fit neatly into the shoegazer scene. Early singles like "Son of Mustang Ford," off the 1991 album Raise bucked and reared wildly, more akin to American post-grunge outfits like Dinosaur Jr. or Sonic Youth than dream-fuzzed Oxford neighbors like Ride. Mezcal Head in 1993 layered a narcotic buzz of vocals over inflammatory riffs—the guitars in "Duel" are monstrous, blistered and radiant—noisily obliterating any gestures towards pop.
Four years ago, Swervedriver's comeback record I Wasn't Born To Lose You emphasised just how a band could leave everything behind and then simply come back, picking up right where they left off as if nothing happened. The Oxford squad didn't miss a beat, regaling us with their edgy indie-shoegaze-alt. rock style that left fans of the '90s heartbroken when they called it a day.