One of more rocked-out acts associated with the early 1990s U.K. shoegazer scene, Swervedriver generally rejected dreamy mid-tempo passages in favor of a propulsive, feedback-heavy sound. Fronted by singer/guitarist Adam Franklin, the Oxford-based ensemble made some headway in the U.S. alternative-rock market by touring with then-ascending groups such as Soundgarden and Smashing Pumpkins, but it ultimately failed to pick up significant momentum, and disbanded in 1999. Franklin went on to form Toshack Highway and, later, Magnetic Morning (with Interpol drummer Sam Fogarino), before reuniting with Swervedriver for a 2008 tour.
It''s easy to get sucked into Swervedriver''s sweeping, panoramic guitar rock. On Mezcal Head, the Oxford quartet creates such a vivid feeling of driving through the desert at night that you can almost see the cactuses rushing by. It''s an exhilarating and sometimes turbulent joyride, but it''s always worth it. Indispensable tracks such as "Duel" and "Last Train to Satansville" spiral with ethereal guitars and propulsive rhythms, while singer Adam Franklin''s hoarse voice gives the music a hopeless romanticism and restlessness. This is some of the best and most underrated rock music of the ''90s. --Aidin Vaziri
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