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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

#9 best record of the 1990s

this record fits beautifully next to Slint's "Spiderland" and Sonic Youth's "Dirty" as some of the 10 best records of the 1990s. Shoegaze at it's most refined.

Excellent album! Great band live

I remember discovering this band through a local tv show here in Chicago titled "JBTV". I saw the video for "Sandblasted" and was blown away. The next day I went to Rose Records to pick this up. This was and still is a great album. I look forward to this updated version and discovering some stellar reworking of the audio. I eventually saw them live the next time around to promote "Mezcal Head". Awesome. Just an awesome live band. If you were into Alternative in the early 90's, this album is a must own.

Heavy Rifts

Hey yeah I know JBTV. Excellent band. Very good in concert to. The heavy guitar rifts are awesome. Deep Seat is my favorite. Swervedriver is one of my favorite bands. Every song on Raise are highly recommended.


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,...
Full Bio