Swervedriver - Future Ruins (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Future Ruins (2019)

dangerbird / rock action

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. Well, Future Ruins continues their form and truly harnesses the best bits of the band's older music, although some may argue that this day and age, such a well-worn sound over and over might get a bit repetitive.

Now, that's not a knock on the band. This record is classic Swervedriver. But they already showed us in 2015 how easy it was getting back on the bike. I did expect them to challenge us a bit. I wouldn't care if the songs sucked, I'd have just been happy they batted out of that comfort zone. That rant aside, these songs are true to form. Buzzy, crunch guitars and sad, wallowing melodies transport us back the '90s when they were an underground act you couldn't believe hadn't gotten bigger. Then again, you probably didn't want them to for the fear of selling out (aka a fucking bullshit notion).

Songs like "Mary Winter" and "The Lonely Crowd Fades In The Air" are vintage Swervedriver, echoing why bands like Slowdive, Mogwai, Dinosaur Jr., Scottish hardcore band Departures and even Interpol all craft a similar dynamic. Everyone wants that My Bloody Valentine impact or the cutting nature of the Smiths to emanate from their music, and you can tell that Swervedriver are one of those leading this pack. Even though they rarely get aggressive, you can sense their signature littered over so many of these acts. Mid-tempo jams like "Spiked Flower" and "Drone Lover" are prime examples of this as well, calm but still tracks with the heft of decades ago, barreling into you with Adam Franklin's slow demeanour on the mic and even more heartfelt lyrics.

All in all, Swervedriver delivers the goods but with this record, it's safe to say it could have come years ago. I'd love to hear them take a risk and mix it up moving forward.