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Raise (Extended Version)

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Album Review

A molten extension of Daydream Nation-era Sonic Youth, the Stooges' drill-press rhythms, and early Dinosaur Jr., Raise should have been made by young record shop rats from the Midwest. Adding to this is a fascination with the open road; only two of the album's nine songs do not directly reference cars or driving. It's no real surprise, then, that this Oxford, England-based band found a home on Stateside turntables that were otherwise Anglophobic, despite being pigeonholed as shoegazers. In all fairness, the band was about as exciting to watch as any actual shoegaze band, and Adam Franklin's vocals were buried deep within the studio and live mixes. (Flying leg kicks, windmills, and eye contact couldn't have been all that possible with an unwieldy battery of effects pedals at the feet.) The lead tracks from the preceding EPs Son of Mustang Ford, Rave Down, and Sandblasted bolster Raise's appeal significantly, but the six new songs are of equal or near-equal quality and surround the earlier material in a complementary manner that make the album conducive to beginning-to-end playback, from the gnarled, divebombing guitars and tumbling drum intro of "Sci-Flyer" to the slow fade of the lazy "Lead Me Where You Dare." Jimmy Hartridge's and Adam Franklin's guitars soar and seer through rusted jangles and scorched riffs, yet the album is largely driven by Adi Vines' thick, roving lines. And though they are buried to the point of serving merely as another instrument, Franklin's vocals are ideal for the band's sound and themes, like those of a road trip junkie made weary by exhaust fumes, brutal heat, amphetamines, and heartbreak: "Been driving for days to take the pain away." A fantastic debut, and the band wasn't even close to full power. [A reissue with remastered sound first surfaced in the U.K. in late 2008 and was then picked up an early 2009 U.S. release through Second Motion/Hi-Speed Soul (via Universal). Unfortunately, it's a single-disc reissue — so, rather than add a second disc to compile all the often-excellent material from the EPs and other stray tracks from the period, only four bonus tracks are appended to the end of the album proper, including "Kill the Superheroes."]

Customer Reviews

How can you not own this?!

This album is simply staggering. So good it made me move to the UK. The opening salvo of Sci Flyer still makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. I have so many amazing memories of this album that its easily in my top 10 of all time. I still rate this higher than the awesome Mezcal Head. Son of Mustang Ford, Sci-Flyer, Rave Down are amazing and almost make me weep for dark hearted joy! The bonus tracks are amazing additions especially Andalucia and the cult fave Superheros. The original sounded pretty muffled and this one is a lot crisper and cleaner. Guitars and Cymbals have emerged from the tapestry of noise. Nothing sounds like this and its fabulous they have remastered and rereleased this in line with Adam Franklin finally getting some much needed recognition. Stunning.


Wow. Have been waiting for years for them to re-release and digitally enhance this album, as the original is of a very low sound compared to todays quality. A classic album definately in my top 10, hard to choose a favourite song here. For people not sure about Swervedriver have a dabble at Rave Down, Feel So Real and Son Of Mustang Ford a great intro into an underrated band


I had forgotten how incredible this album is. They take you away - to another plane. The music is complicated but so sure-footed; they never make a mistake. You know you are in safe hands with them and they will take you unbelievable places. How do they do it so consistently for the entire album? Just amazing.


Formed: 1990 in London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '10s

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 of Soundgarden,...
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