Did you hear about the time Sonic Youth, Husker Du, Ride and My Bloody Valentine piled into a stretch Eldorado and road-tripped through Arizona’s Painted Desert? Well, it didn’t really happen but that’s what Swervedriver sounds like. And I don’t mean post-Goo Sonic Youth, or Loveless-era My Bloody Valentine. I also don’t mean in that typical swirling dissonant dreamrock way either.
Swervedriver’s rhythm section was amazing, with a great drummer and a bassist whose playing alternated between melodic and throbbing. The two guitarists contrasted each other constantly–be it leads, rhythm, or in their sheets of melodic sound, they could soar with the best of them. Swervedriver had the riffs of “You Made Me Realise”/”Feed Me with Your Kiss” MBV, only thrown into British Dinosaur Jr. song structures (not the jangly or remotely Neil Young influenced) as well as Thurston-styled post-beat poet/rock hesher lyrics. Not Britpop, not shoegaze, and not classic rock.
Swervedriver’s sound was totally of the time, but they also managed to confound listeners with their ability to utilize the best qualities of both British shoegaze and classic, touchstone American indie rock, all at the same time. Not the most avant-garde concept, but no one has ever quite managed to do what they did as well as they could. Not then and not now.