Swervedriver - Future Ruins - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Swervedriver - Future Ruins

by Tim Sentz Rating:7 Release Date:2019-01-25
Swervedriver - Future Ruins
Swervedriver - Future Ruins

2017 was known as the year (among other things) as the prime shoegaze revival. Three of the biggest shoegaze bands returned with new albums. The Jesus and Mary Chain released Damage & Joy, their first in 19 years; followed by Slowdive’s Slowdive after a 21-year gap; and lastly Ride delivered Weather Diaries, also 21 years later. But two years prior to the shoegaze revival onslaught, Swervedriver kicked things off with I Wasn’t Born to Lose You, their first since 1998’s 99th Dream. Lose was a pleasant surprise – warm reverb drenched grooves paired with Adam Franklin’s hazy vocals, a staple for the band’s sound. And while they have always ridden the line between shoegaze and alternative rock, the album was well received by shoegaze enthusiasts.

Almost four years later and they’ve returned with Future Ruins, an album that continues the sounds and elements established on Lose but sprinkles enough spice into the mix to separate it from its predecessor. It works for most of the record, the first half is essentially what you’ve come to know and love from Swervedriver. Opener “Mary Winter” slaps like any Swervedriver classic should, and “The Lonely Crowd Fades In the Air” follows it up and doesn’t sound out of place on any of their albums. The title track brings things down a bit as a more slow-moving cut, but again it’s nothing new for the band. Even if the album received a lukewarm response, Ride’s Weather Diaries took some liberties with their sound and showed a band willing to try new things.

Halfway through the album is “Drone Lover,” one of the most accessible tracks on Future Ruins, and it’s a fun banger that reminds us that Swervedriver are masters of their craft still to this day and know how to write a solid hook. Future Ruins deviates at this point with “Spiked Flower,” which dials back Franklin’s vocals into a receiver effect, a voice alteration you’d find on a Deerhunter record, though not as extreme as them. It’s a minor touch that elevates the track, even if it’s still a relatively conventional song. “Everybody’s Going Somewhere and No-One’s Going Anywhere” pushes the envelope further as Franklin’s digs down his voice into this morbid sound, like nothing we’ve heard from him before. It’s one of their more experimental tracks, less conventional than anything else on the record. It’ll be dismissed by a lot of fans though; his spoken word delivery will be too much for most.

Luckily for those fans, things resume to normal with “Golden Remedy,” though it’s near 3-minute instrumental outro is a lush throwback to the glorious noise their early records utilized in poignant doses. “Radio-Silent” is the epic closer for the record, stretching 7 minutes, and seems like an appropriate cap to the album. Future Ruins benefits from the band not wanting to make another reunion record. They pushed for more experimental moments, something Lose had almost none of. And while Future Ruins will be tough to fit into their catalogue, it’s still a worthy effort from the veteran band and marks a crossroads for them. If they can continue to push the boundaries of their sound, their next album could be genre-defining. As it stands though, Future Ruins is pretty safe overall. Outside of the sporadic second half, the album keeps all the necessary riffs and harmonies that fans of Swervedriver have come to expect and adore.

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