Swervedriver
Mezcal Head


4.0
excellent

Review

by Chris Jackson USER (177 Reviews)
August 17th, 2006 | 26 replies


Release Date: 1993 | Tracklist


It’s a mystery why Swervedriver never made it big. The bands music was distorted enough to appeal to grunge fans and there were enough dreamy pop hooks to branch out to fans of the shoegazer genre. Not to mention that Swervedrivers sound is both aggressive and standard enough to appeal to hardcore and alt/rock listeners. They vaguely resemble the Smashing Pumpkins, just subtract Billy Corgans whiny voice. Hell, Swervedriver even opened for the band back in the early 90's. Mezcal Head was released in 1993 right when shoegaze was starting to die out and just when the grunge scene was in full force. There are many underrated albums that were released in the early nineties and Mezcal Head happens to be one of them.

Throughout the album there are hard hitting guitar riffs, distorted fuzz, and some occasional pop hooks. A good chunk of these songs are abrasive and raw, the main focus is obviously on the rugged guitar playing. MM Abduction shows off some swirling guitar whirls while the albums opener For Seeking Heat is a raging, compelling tune propelled by frantic drumming and a fuzzy guitar line. Blowin’ Cool is a hypnotic and mildly funky tune, Swervedriver almost reach psychadelica with this composition. It’s obvious that most songs on Mezcal Head sound similar but each track is unique and recognizable.

The second song, Duel is Swervedrivers biggest single and it was actually a minor hit in Britain and in the United States. It’s obviously the bands catchiest song since the chorus is catchy and rockin’ while the verses are more chilled out and mellow. This is definitely the most “shogaze” influenced track off of Mezcal Head. A Change Is Gonna Come and Duress are the two relaxed tunes off the album. The latter clocks in at eight minutes and features some vibrant storytelling along with a spicy yet smooth guitar solo. Both songs keep a very raw and intense feel yet the guitar playing is very slow and steady. It’s an interesting mix and an angular break from the more erratic and hard rockin’ songs featured on Mezcal Head.

The lead vocalist Adam Franklin has a pretty standard voice. It’s kind of lazy and relaxed while being compelling and intense. You can easily decipher his lyrics during the verses but once the hard hitting choruses come into play his voice is muffled behind the noisy guitar playing. While his vocal performance doesn’t really stand out it fits in well with the sloppiness of Mezcal Head. The production is much cleaner then the groups debut and it isnt’ exactly bad it just focuses on the guitar and drum playing rather then Franklins voice.

Mezcal Head doesn’t have a ton of range but just enough to keep things from getting overly repetitive and bland. The drum work is rough-edged and raw, it doesn’t play a huge role yet it keeps the music exhilarating and adrenaline pumping. If there is a downside to the album it’s that the song lengths can get quite overbearing. Mezcal Head consists of eleven tracks and the album runs for just about an hour. There are plenty of fuzzy jam sessions but at certain points Swervedriver just don’t know when to stop.

After listening to Mezcal Head for about a year or so I’d say that it ranks up their with albums such as Loveless, Siamese Dream, and Nowhere. Swervedriver have a knack for combing genres such as grunge and shoegaze together to form a rough, compelling, and raw sound. Mezcal Head is an essential album that will satisfy any shoegaze or grunge fan, the only unfortunate thing is how a few songs tend to drag thus lowering the albums status and replay value.



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user ratings (52)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Zebra
Moderator
August 17th 2006


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I filed this under grunge this Mezcal Head is very grunge influenced however it is really a shoegaze album.

Oddsen
August 17th 2006


1127 Comments


Cool. I'll take a look at this.
/votes

metallicaman8
August 17th 2006


4677 Comments


Nice review.

AlienEater
August 17th 2006


716 Comments


Hmm... I want this. Good review.

Krash100
November 2nd 2006


37 Comments


I have "Ejector Seat Reservation" which also a great album by these guys. I'll have to pick this up as well

gaslight
January 5th 2008


46 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

One of my favourite rock bands of all time. Great music to drive to.

Monstar1790
April 19th 2009


130 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Has a couple of merely OK songs, but the best material on this album is the perfect blend of shoegaze guitar and rock music to drive to (nice observation, gaslight). Awesome.

Digging: Lucius - Wildewoman

random
May 11th 2011


2262 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great album.

KILL
July 13th 2011


71856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yea this is good shit

Digging: A Guy Called Gerald - Black Secret Technology

jefflebowski
September 4th 2011


8247 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Man, this is album is badass

Digging: Shellac - Dude Incredible

SCREAMorphine
February 1st 2012


1753 Comments


These guys have a good sound, haven't listened to the album in full yet

KILL
February 1st 2012


71856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

rules

jefflebowski
February 1st 2012


8247 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

so hard

jlech
February 12th 2012


123 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This album always makes me think of Road Rash on PS1. Monster Magnet, Soundgarden, Paw, Therapy?, Hammerbox, and these guys.

jefflebowski
February 12th 2012


8247 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

three? THREE?

random
July 1st 2012


2262 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"Last Train To Satansville" should have been huge on '90's alternative radio.

random
July 15th 2012


2262 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"YOU LOOK LIKE YOU'VE BEEN LOSING SLEEP/SAID A STRANGER ON THE TRAIN!"

jefflebowski
July 15th 2012


8247 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I fixed him with an ice cold stare and said/i've been havin' those dreams again

YankeeDudel
August 21st 2012


9313 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good stuff here dudes

Digging: Coroner - Mental Vortex

Alex445
February 15th 2013


149 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Never Lose That Feeling" is fucking amazing. Youtube it.



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