None of the writing for this website has been original as yet…up until now. I’ve been writing this article for some time, just because I wanted to say something about the impending return of one of my favourite bands. I finished it tonight and thought I would share it immediately, strike while the iron is hot, and all that jazz.
In case you’re interested my other favourite artists are Alice in Chains and Bob Mould, although it’s a close run thing with others like Pearl Jam, Nirvana and the Foo Fighters…as well as Ben Folds Five, Melissa Auf der Maur, Queens of the Stone Age and more of that ilk. I like rock music!
Here’s the piece, and I’ve chucked the video for their newest release in at the bottom.
Shoegazing Into The Past
The term “shoegazers” was coined in the nineties. In case you missed it, the nineties was that time grunge became the defining sound of disaffected well-to-do youngsters around the world.
A lot of people thought shoegaze was a dig at the bands, because they were all a bit on the introverted side and preferred to look at their own feet, rather than into an interviewers face or the staring, slightly defocussed, eyes of their fans. However those in the know, and at the time it seemed like we were few and far between, understood that what these bands were so interested in was the huge banks of guitar pedals they had lined up in front of their feet.
My original interest in Swervedriver was probably (partly mainly) down to the fact that the person that introduced me to them was called Hannah, was in the year above me, and was also the most popular person in school. I think Hannah went to Oxford University and studied psychology, although I may have imagined that!
To give an idea of how long ago this all occurred I bought Raise on cassette in the nearest Our Price shop, because it was the closest record store with a half decent selection of interesting and alternative artists in stock. Anyway, I’m pleased my teenage hormonal imbalances got the better of me because it’s now twenty years later and I still listen to the band on a somewhat too regular basis.
Until you’ve been a fan of bands like this you’d probably call them indie, with that slightly scowling derogatory face people make, like they’ve accidentally put their hand in something slimy. But I like to think of them as alternative. When I say alternative I mean alternative like Husker Dü, Dinosaur Jr. or Neil Young. Alternative wrote large. Alternative like nothing you’d ever heard before. Alternative as in different to every other band on the planet. Alternative as in layered guitars, turned up loud, playing intricate melodies and backed by a stomach churning bass-line and earth shattering drums.
The band split up in 1998. As I recall the story was that they had been having troubles for some time and during a tour of Australia one of them told the driver to stop the van and got out in the middle of nowhere. This may be apocryphal, but it’s a good end for a band whose songs seemed mainly to be based around cars, motorbikes and roads.
Then, late last year, there was a small and unpretentious announcement on a website, residing some place in the backwaters of the internet. I’m paraphrasing here but what it said was something like “they’re coming back”! After a few small shows for special events over the previous couple of years they had decided it was too much fun to leave and had planned a proper tour, which I sadly missed due to emigrating to Australia, and then some time in the studio to put some new material together.
I almost fell off my chair, which would have been a little embarrassing as I was at work. What I actually did was shout “oh my god” (I’m an antitheist, so this was a thanks to whatever amazing supernatural force steers musicians). The first new material was released, called Deep Wound it was classic Swervedriver. Everything about it made me smile and I just wanted to jump for joy when I heard it.
The album is penned to come out a little later this year and I, for one, am looking forward to the return of the unrecognised leaders of British, effects driven, beautifully written, skilfully executed, punch you in the face, rock music.