When it comes to shoegazing reformations, there are three possible reactions. “OMG this is the best thing they’ve ever done” (Slowdive); “Thank god it’s not shit” (Ride); and “Oh dear, they really shouldn’t have done this” (most of the rest). Sadly, Swervedriver’s second post-reformation album Future Ruins falls squarely into the final category. Despite a strong start it’s mostly a chore to listen to, and sounds like it was a chore to make.
Openers ‘Mary Winter‘ and ‘The Lonely Crowd Fades in the Air‘ are a bit of a false dawn, sounding as they do like classic Raise-era Swervedriver, all big riffage and stoned harmonies. But the quality takes a massive dip from that point, as a band once known – and loved – for their muscular, grunged-up take on a generally rather fey genre sink into disappointingly torpid territory. ‘Future Ruins‘ takes aim at the Brexiteers but can’t really summon up much in the way of righteous ire; ‘Spiked Flower‘ chugs lazily along like something Alan McGee might’ve signed in 1997; and the bizarre (not in a good way) ‘Everyone’s Going Somewhere & Noone’s Going Anywhere‘ features Adam Franklin mumbling about his retirement plans (“I’m going to go pick tea in China…I’m going go go & grow tomatoes in Sicily“) over pleasant but unremarkable post-rock.
Penultimate track ‘Good Times‘ is tragically misnamed, and the album finally limps to a close with the Mogwai-lite of ‘Radio-Silent’, and I put Raise on loud to remember them as they once were.
Future Ruins is out now on Rock Action.