Wednesday, March 8, 2017

McQ's #71 Album Of 2015 - I WASN'T BORN TO LOSE YOU - Swervedriver

Returning in 2015 with their first record of new material in over fifteen years, UK shoegaze act Swervedriver delivers an album that seems sure to delight their small but dedicated fanbase.

Always one of the warmest and hardest-rocking bands to emerge out of the genre's late-80s/early 90s golden era, Swervedriver hits all of their signature touchstones on I Wasn't Born To Lose You - the wildly varied, inventive guitar tones, the driving, jangly riffs, and tons of lyrics about driving in cars - and it's a solidly crafted record, but one that doesn't add up to much more than a pleasant surface listen for me.

Much of this is just a reflection of my personal relationship with shoegaze - a genre I've consistently liked, but rarely loved - but some is directly related to the band.

Compared to most other shoegaze acts, the band's mid-range, male-only vocals, though by no means bad, tend to lack the more hypnotic pull of peers like My Bloody Valentine, Ride and Lush or recent acts like School Of Seven Bells.

There is also a bit of clunkiness to some of the album's harder rocking songs, especially Setting Sun and Red Queens Arms Race.

But those limitations aside, there is still much to appreciate about I Wasn't Born To Lose You, some of those experimental guitar tones are downright inspired, and the album does boast a few tracks that rise above the general swirl.

Autodidact is a nifty, propulsive, jangly opener, lead riff-heavy single Deep Wound is a first-rate, straightforward rocker, For A Day Like Tomorrow is yet another 2015 track that obtains its glory mostly through an extended, beautifully orchestrated instrumental denouement, and then there's the album's one near-masterpiece, English Subtitles, a pysch-rock tour-de-force that achieves an almost Eight Miles High-level of vocal and instrumental grandeur and is without question one of my favorite tracks of the year.

Status: Mild Recommend

Cherry Picker's Best Bets: Autodidact, For A Day Like Tomorrow, English Subtitles, Deep Wound

Track Listing:
1. Autodidact - 8
2. Last Rites -7
3. For A Day Like Tomorrow - 7
4. Setting Sun - 6
5. Everso - 7
6. English Subtitles - 9
7. Red Queen Arms Race - 6
8. Deep Wound - 8 -
9. Lone Star - 6
10. I Wonder? - 6
Inangibles - Slightly Low

Here is the official video for Deep Wound and I believe stylistically similar fan-created videos for my other two favorite tracks from the album Autodidact and the glorious English Subtitles.

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