Swervedriver: Future Ruins (Rock Action)

Cult indie rock stalwarts return with sterling sixth volume of shoegaze

Released Jan 25th, 2019 via Rock Action / By Erick Mertz
Swervedriver: Future Ruins (Rock Action) Shoegaze has always been about a full embrace of the sublime. Whether by drug or dream – or both, that greatness beyond possibility or comprehension or measurement is at the genre’s core. And imitation. Don’t forget, beyond imitation.

Swervedriver defines as shoegaze, but the Oxford, England band has always added in their own harder rock wrinkle. Their album 1993 album Mezcal Head, long considered a classic of many forms, veers off, aggravating the dreamy, washed out visions of similar contemporary bands, My Bloody Valentine, or the pure doe-eyed bliss of someone like the Cocteau Twins.

The title track on this record is one of the best-written songs in Swervedriver’s catalog. It’s drowsy without nodding into oblivion. The guitars crash in and out, but they form a balance with the track’s far away nether regions. Not a moment of the track’s six minutes are wasted. The song Theeascending is the quintessence of the band’s peak, optimal sound, alternating between big, crushing riffs and swirling instrumental passages, meshing seamlessly with Adam Franklin’s vocals.

If you’re looking for that robust, break out indie rock sound, Dronelover is brimming with colourful, resplendent guitars and dizzying vocals. All of it builds around the strangely appetizing lyrical hook, “if you murder me in the dark” that I’ve found myself singing over and over. Overall, I think the rockers on Future Ruins are far superior to their weary companions. As far as quality goes, I like some of the robust aspects on tracks like Everyone’s Going Somewhere And No One’s Going Anywhere but it falls a bit short of the band’s best songwriting ideas, and this is a record full of good ideas.

Future Ruins comes four years after I Wasn’t Born To Lose You – which came seven years after 99th Dream a record that signalled the dusk fall on the band’s most fertile period. Many have characterized their 2015 album as the band sounding as loose as ever. By comparison, this new record sees Swervedriver tighten back up a bit. There is the feeling of a curtain falling on Future Ruins that lends the songs an air of urgency. For me, this edge is what defines Swervedriver. It is what sets them apart from their peers within the genre and gives them that genuine air of sublime, beyond imitation. The dream will end. No matter how long the bender – or how good the drugs, it crashes. A few of these tracks catch the inherent, existential tension in that reality. 4/5

Swervedriver Tour:

Sunday 12 May, The Fleece, Bristol
Monday 13 May, The Deaf Institute, Manchester
Tuesday 14 May, King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow
Thursday 16 May, O2 Academy Islington, London
Friday 17 May, O2 Institute 2 Birmingham, Digbeth
Friday 15 November – Sunday 17 November, Shiiine On Weekender,
Butlin's - Minehead, Minehead

Tickets here