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99th Dream

Swervedriver

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Album Review

If the debacles surrounding the release of 1995's magical Ejector Seat Reservation weren't enough, the process of getting this fine follow-up to the public likely gave Swervedriver enough headaches to outnumber their effects pedals. 99th Dream was set to be launched on Geffen in early 1997, with advance copies sent to press and radio. Not to be outdone by A&M and Creation — the two labels to previously junk the Oxford band like a fungus-ridden shower shoe — the label fired the band's A&R representative and unceremoniously dropped the band, leaving the record in unreleased limbo. Along came New York independent Zero Hour to save the day, who bought the rights to the record and released it nearly a year later. Though the weakest of Swervedriver's four long-players of the '90s, 99th Dream still shimmers and sizzles like the work of shamefully few bands of the time. Another trademark opening one-two punch is offered in "99th Dream" and "Up From the Sea," showing a continuation of the band falling prey to its pop instincts. Slowly but surely, Swervedriver have morphed from a runaway locomotive informed by the Stooges and Dinosaur Jr. to a classic sports car fueled by Love and the Beatles, without losing their ferocious purr along the way. 99th Dream has its less than superb moments; "Electric 77" and "Stellar Caprice" lumber along enough to challenge the attention of the diehard, and "In My Time" would have gathered dust on the cutting room floor had it been committed during Mezcal Head or Ejector. Also, the version of "These Times" that appears on the Zero Hour version is inferior to the one found on the Geffen advance. The latter version plods along, marring the sprightly pace of the original; oddly enough, the original sounds a hell of a lot like Oasis. Adam Franklin even attains the nasal whine of Liam Gallagher without grating. One could wager a shoebox of Beatles 45s that it was for these reasons that a tamer version appears here. Full of rich harmonies and graceful instrumental passages, 99th Dream closes with "Maybe the People Would Be the Times..." — "Behind the Scenes of the Sounds & the Times," that is! Though reading like a song off Love's Forever Changes, "Behind the Scenes" is a dynamic seven-minute trip of charging, psychedelic ebb and flow.

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...
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