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Mezcal Head (Bonus Track Version)

Swervedriver

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Album Review

After the spotty but promising Raise, England's Swervedriver put it all together in a big way. Right from the opening "For Seeking Heat," one can tell this is one of the hottest albums of 1993 — certainly it's the hottest-produced album. The album explodes with the first onslaught of guitars and keeps up the crackling, monstrous, gargantuan feel thereafter. Add to that some pretty massive melodies they've never before displayed (a heretofore hidden pop sense), complete with pond-deep vocals and harmonies, especially the splendid harmonies that enliven the all-powerful "Blowin' Cool" chorus, the LP standout track along with "Duel." Best of all, they've discarded what little bothersome metallic tendencies Raise had, yet Mezcal Head pulses with even more chops. Additionally, the wah-wah here is used more judiciously, making it more of a flavor element. In the end, though, it's these tremendous songs — a dozen unique, never-repeating compositions, so big and bold they latch on with the first play and kick your ass without seeming like they tried hard to do it — that are the benefit of increased confidence, direction, and the bulging, steam-edge production. Behind the mixing desk, this is by far the best work yet by Alan Moulder (Ride, Boo Radleys); this is the warmest, biggest, most dynamite-loud yet clean sound he (and Swervedriver, together) has ever achieved. The band's new lineup (new rhythm section) is tighter and more flexible, with nicer bottom end and stylistic touches, while also being precise — the otherwise unnecessary jam at the end of "Last Train to Satansville" is redeemed somewhat by the bass and drums' disciplined two-note pounding. As an added bonus, 1992's breakthrough single, "Never Lose That Feeling" (a harbinger of Mezcal Head's greatness), is added to the U.S. release. The only minor flaws are that some of the songs seem to go on a little too long, and some of the really good songs on the second half of the LP aren't quite as breathtaking as the first half, but that's getting greedy; most bands would kill for this side two. In any case, this is one whale of a record. [A reissue with remastered sound first surfaced in the U.K. in late 2008 and was then picked up for an early 2009 U.S. release through Second Motion/Hi-Speed Soul (via Universal). As with the Raise reissue, it's a single-disc package, so only three of the B-sides and stray tracks from the period are here, including the especially hot "Planes Over the Skyline."]

Customer Reviews

Recommended - want to play again and again

Loved the album from the first listen - For Seeking Heat is a great intro....first album of 2009.

Biography

Formed: 1990 in London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s

The band who brought the car song into the shoegaze era, Swervedriver were formed in Britain in 1990 by vocalists/guitarists Adam Franklin and Jimmy Hartridge, bassist Adi Vines, and drummer Graham Bonner. Fusing the swirling textures of the shoegazer aesthetic with the more traditional boundaries of pop, the group debuted with a series of brilliant EPs — Son of Mustang Ford, Rave Down, and Sandblasted — before issuing their full-length debut, Raise, in 1991. After a U.S. tour in support...
Full Bio