Lo-fi shoegazing at its best
J. Young | Dallas, TX | 08/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Swervedriver is, simply put, an amazing band. "Raise" is alternatingly their best or second best album (along with "Mezcal Head") depending on my mood. This one I love for its true shoegazing sound. It is muddied and dreamlike, and full of guitar work that one can only truly appreciate if they see Swervedriver or Adam Franklin (Toshack Highway) live.This is full of so many great songs I don't even know where to begin. Perhaps most importantly, the album has a great flow to it, similar in that regard to both XTC's "Skylarking" and Radiohead's "OK Computer" (even though the music is much, much different for all those bands). For fans of old Dinosaur, MBV, or Sonic Youth, this CD is a must, as is "Mezcal Head" and any assortment of early Swervedriver b-sides that you can find. Swervedriver's b-sides are second to nobody's, not even the better Cure b-sides."
A sonic must-own masterpiece for all lovers of guitar rock
Zedhead | K/W, ON Canada | 08/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Simple... if you like heavy guitar rock and don't own a copy of `Raise'...BUY IT NOW, at any cost! You won't be sorry. `Raise' is an incredible sonic monster; combining the heavy guitar experimentation of Sonic Youth's `Daydream Nation' / Dinosaur Jr.'s `You're Living All Over Me', along with the atmospheric hypnotic shoegazing of My Bloody Valentine's `Loveless', and, heck... throw in the psychedelic artistry of early Pink Floyd. To try to merge all these into one album is difficult enough for a seasoned group, but to try it on your debut album is a recipe for disaster. However Swervedriver pulled it off with flying colours, and gave the world this brilliant work of art.
If I can make any criticism, it's the production quality of the recording. In my humble opinion this is not Swervedriver's best, I'll give that award to `Mezcal Head'... only due to the better production. I'd love to see a digital re-mastered edition of `Raise' become available, however the muddied and distorted atmosphere is admittedly part of its charm. Stand out tracks for me are "Sci-Flyer", "Son Of Mustang Ford", "Deep Seat" "Rave Down" and "Sandblasted". Not to diminish the other songs, they all work together and blend into each other like, well, OK I know I'm copying many other reviewers but it's true... the music weaves together like a movie soundtrack. One reviewer here likened the music-flow effect to that of Radiohead's `OK Computer' which I never thought of but it's true. However my personal comparison were of the masters of this... Pink Floyd, with `Animals' or `The Wall'. But make no mistake, Swervedriver sounds nothing like those bands - this is searing guitar / thundering base and the Swervies never rocked harder then on `Raise'.
Admittedly I am biased, as over the years I've come to realize Swervedriver somehow became my favourite band... and that's no easy feat. I was a late convert to them, too busy listening to Jane's Addiction, Dino Jr., Pearl Jam and Smashing Pumpkins to pay attention to the British music scene in the early 90's. Actually it was their connection to the Pumpkins, and hearing the song "Duel" off `Mezcal Head' that got me into this group. And now 15 years later, I've tired of all those bands and the mighty Swervies continue to be in heavy rotation.
A warning though, after picking up `Raise', you may get hooked and pick up their other three album, the anthology `Juggernaut Rides' along with any b-sides you can scoop up. They may not become your favourite band... but you will discover their music is addicting, and that they were the most underrated group of the 90's.