1993, Music

Mezcal Head (1993) by Swervedriver

The thing I like about Swervedriver is their diversity; they are the rare shoegaze band that doesn’t seem determined to one thing and one thing only. (In fact, their diversity might call into question the shoegaze label.)

A big part of the lack of appeal of shoegaze for me is the general lack of diversity. The other part is the songs, which are often quite poppy underneath the volume. But Swervedriver write songs which run a gamut of styles, and the songs are never just honey-dripping pop songs but songs with riffs and structure… (There’s a song which sounds sort of like surf rock!) It’s just really refreshing.

And the diversity also comes into play with the arrangements, with different pedals and different instruments; it’s not just noise and harmonies.

And, honestly, the longer and longer I listen to this band, the more and more I think “shoegaze” is a totally inappropriate label. In fact, they rarely sound like a shoegaze band on this record, more like an alternative rock band that sort of dabbles in shoegaze on the rare occasion.

The production does a good job of balancing the noise with the rhythm section and the melodies; normally I like music that leans into the noise a little bit more but I’m fine with the balance achieved here.

I like this record a lot; a pretty strong set of songs and a strong aesthetic that is unique enough to be memorable, to stand out from all the other bands that sounded roughly similar to this.

8/10

All music composed by Swervedriver, except where noted.

  1. “For Seeking Heat” 3:48
  2. “Duel” 6:19
  3. “Blowin’ Cool” 3:55
  4. “MM Abduction” 2:51
  5. “Last Train to Satansville” 6:45
  6. “Harry & Maggie” 5:27
  7. “A Change Is Gonna Come” 4:01
  8. “Girl on a Motorbike” 4:09
  9. “Duress” (written by Marc Waterman) 8:03
  10. “You Find It Everywhere” 4:10

  • Adam Franklin – vocals, guitar
  • Jimmy Hartridge – guitar
  • Jez Hindmarsh – drums, percussion
  • Steve George – bass guitar

with Stewart Dace – saxophone (track 11)

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