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Spent Bullets

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Album Review

On his second album under his own name, 2009's Spent Bullets, Adam Franklin has all but forsaken any traces of electronic experimentation left over from his Toshack Highway project. He's also left behind the hard-charging sound of Swervedriver, which was starting to creep back into his playbook on Bolts of Melody. Instead, Franklin focuses on the kind of low-key, soft-focus guitar balladry that provided many of the highlights on Bolts. It's possible that since the album was being recorded at the same time Swervedriver were re-forming and touring, any itch Franklin had to make noise was being thoroughly scratched elsewhere. Apart from the misleadingly spry album opener, "Surge," he and his small group make almost no concessions to rocking out on Spent Bullets, with few tempos that inch above a languid crawl, guitars that wind around each other in hazy coils of effects, and vocals that aren't showy or dripping with emotion conveying a fragile tenderness. A lot of talk has always focused around the guitars of Swervedriver, but the secret weapon was always Franklin's laid-back vocal style. He's only gotten better over time, and given a lovely melody like that of the cowboy lament "Teardrops Keep Fallin' Out My Head" or "Autumn Leaf," he can make your heart do funny things. The vocal harmonies on Spent Bullets are something special, too, especially on the stunning "Big Sur," which sounds like a lost America classic (if America were guitar heroes as well as harmony wizards). Fans of guitar interplay won't feel slighted by all the great vocals. Franklin and fellow guitarist Locksley Taylor don't do any shredding or lay down any riffs that will turn up on Guitar Hero anytime soon, but they do deliver plenty of restrained beauty, and Franklin still excels at creating fluid guitar lines that lift your spirits. Check the elegiac "Champs" for a nice example of their subtle glory, or the truly melancholy-sounding lead lines on "Bolts of Melody" for their near-perfect sense of what works in these songs. And this is one of the strongest batches of songs Franklin has written in a while. Indeed, the combination of great vocals, guitar near-perfection, and powerful, emotionally gripping songs makes Spent Bullets one of the best albums Adam Franklin has been associated with.

Customer Reviews

its about time

Me likey a LOT. I figured it would be worth it just for Two Dollar dress and Surge, but every track hits my ears with the force of about one hundred perfectly tuned guitars, gentle but persisting melodic drifting soundscapes with definate driving rock undercurrents... my faith in music has been almost completely restored. thank you Adam Franklin.

Busy year for Mr. Franklin... and his best release yet!

After touring with Swervedriver in 2008 and releasing an album with Interpol's Sam not three months ago, Adam Franklin is back with his second (well, third counting Toshack Highway) solo album. With perfect layers, very good melodies and excellent guitar work, Franklin proves once again he is one of the most underrated songwriters of the last 20 years. While it's much less rock than your average Swervedriver work, the album WILL draw you in and captivate your mind. Do not hesitate to purchase this one, it is a steal at this price. Winner tracks here are Winter Girls, Big Sur and Champs.

Solid five star album

I can honestly say I love every single song on this album. His voice and music just blend so well. It's hard to say what my favorite song is, right now I would have to say Bolts of Melody, but its a tight race between the rest of the songs. Its an amazing album I won't soon grow tired off.


Born: July 19, 1968 in Essex, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Although he logged time in several bands, Adam Franklin (born 1968 in Essex, England) is best known as the frontman/guitarist for Swervedriver, a seminal shoegaze group that wielded a raw, mystical rock-styled sound. Prior to Swervedriver's formation, Franklin paid tribute to the Stooges and Sonic Youth as part of the Oxford-based band Shake Appeal, which morphed into Swervedriver after several lineup changes. Swervedriver released four solid albums through the 1990s with little retooling of their...
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Spent Bullets, Adam Franklin
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Customer Ratings