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Saturday, 26 January 2013

Swervedriver - Ejector Seat Reservation

Creation Records released Ejector Seat Reservation in April 1995 and then dropped the band one week later. A Japanese version was sold in Canada in 1995. Early UK promo pressings featuring additional track "It's All Happening Now" were withdrawn (given away to fan club members) after permission was denied to use lyrics lifted from Bob Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue". Ejector Seat Reservation was never officially released in the U.S., though it was reissued on CD in 2003 by Sony International. It received little to no record company support and ended up being their poorest-selling album. This began a protracted period of record label problems for the band.

Swervedriver emerged in the indie band boom of the late '80s and early '90s that spawned the likes of Ride and The Boo Radleys (both eventual fellow Creation acts). This was a time when dodgy haircuts and FX pedals held sway and Swervedriver were pretty keen on both. I have fond memories of being introduced to the early single 'Son Of Mustang Ford' by an indie-loving friend of mine. Their first album (Raise) was FX heavy and the second, Mezcal Head, was much the same: quite heavy on the guitars and psychedelic shapes. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, my biggest criticism probably being that the album as a whole lacks the quality of the best tracks ('Duel', 'Last Train To Satansville' and 'A Change Is Gonna Come').
That was set right with this album though, and in my humble opinion, the result of something of a classic. From the pretty, cinematic curio that opens the album ('Single Finger Salute') to the final Beatles-on-heavy-chemicals hidden track, 'Burning Heart', this is a great piece of work.

There was always the aforementioned psychedelic slant to Swervedriver's music, but this really seems like the album where they fully indulged their kaleidoscopic musical vision. The production of the album is quite sympathetic, possibly surprisingly so given that it's by Alan Moulder - indie producer of choice circa 1991 - a man responsible for some pretty dour sounding music. Here though, he gets the best from pretty songs like 'Bubbling Up', allowing the band's swirling psychedelia to take the song away from its more conventionally poppy structure. The title track itself is a more straightforward affair: a relatively simple rhythm propelling it along with a chirpy guitar part giving it an uplifting melody to accompany the droll, stream-of-consciousness lyrics. Not quite rock, not quite pop, not quite full-blown psychedelia, it's one of the best things they ever did.

There are plenty of other highlights: the shuffling pop/rock of 'The Other Jesus', the dry cynicism of 'I Am Superman' and the lovely melancholy of 'Last Day On Earth', a song that combines gentle beauty and grace with epic rock grandeur. It's the sound of a band on top of their game. But then, the whole album gives that feeling. It's still heavy on the guitars and FX pedals, but the touch is lighter, yet more assured, than on previous albums, making for a prettier record, but one that hasn't lost the sense of the band's essential identity.

This album came out in 1995, the same year as The Bends by Radiohead, an acknowledged classic. Ejector Seat Reservation doesn't suffer by comparison. It's an accomplished record, and if you like The Bends then there's every chance you'll like this too. And if you enjoyed the work of The Boo Radleys or The House Of Love, or even the earlier Pink Floyd, then you should really enjoy this.
If you want something a little different but packed with quality and interesting twists, you should give this a go.

Single Finger Salute
Bring Me The Head Of The Fortune Teller
The Other Jesus
Son Of Jaguar 'E'
I Am Superman
Bubbling Up
Ejector Seat Reservation
How Does It Feel To Look Like Candy?
Last Day On Earth
The Birds
Plan 7 Star Satellite 10
Flaming Heart

1 comment:

  1. Hi

    your music blog is great
    is there a way you can reupload the salad LP on your blog ?
    thanks a lot