There are two types of people in the world, those who have heard Swerve, and those who need to. They’re kind of grungy, kind of fuzzy and all kinds of brilliant. The Birmingham based foursome have gone from strength to strength as they’ve put together tracks of genre bending goodness that make hitting repeat an uncontrollable action for any listener.
Swerve have built up a following in the past few years and recently headlined Birmingham’s Sunflower Lounge with Scribble Victory, Shrinking Violets and The Slow Readers Club. Counteract described it as “A perfect performance”, the band describe it as “interesting”.
“You’ve got this band that were playing their hundredth gig of the year, then a band, the real headliners, touring the whole country playing before us” Ross explains. Mike jokingly admitting “We could have probably done with a practice beforehand”
The band’s favourite places in Birmingham range from The Sedgemere Sports and Social Club to Lickey Hills but if they could play anywhere in Birmingham it would be the abandoned Waterstones on New Street or just “A grand place we don’t belong”.
It’s apparent that they’re not a band who take themselves too seriously, and this laid back attitude is likeable and translates well into their music. Although the band overflow with talent, it’s the effortlessly brilliant style that makes them stand out from the crowd. Perhaps the only person to disagree would be Liam’s neighbours who described the sound as “unacceptable”. Haters gonna hate.
The band have a pretty broad taste in music but find this is beneficial when it comes to carving out their own sound. Biggest musical influences include Ride, The Pastels, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd and Danzig, with Arcade Fire playing ‘No Cars Go’ at Glastonbury ’07 being a significant inspiration. Twanging guitar contrasted with a thick smog of percussion and rasping vocals their sound is hard to categorise as it goes from dreamy riffs to almost jazzy guitar solos. You wouldn’t be blamed for describing it as ‘indie-rock’, but with a grubby, grizzly edge, the band build up walls and walls of sound then proceed to knock them down.
“We came into it trying to be a doom band but that didn’t really work out, we just write a certain way. The sound is organic in that sense – it’s just how it comes out. Imagine if the Doobie Brothers got back together and completely ripped off Ride,” says Mike.
They enjoy recording and playing live but explain that, obviously, “it depends if we played well or not.”
“Both rely on external factors and equally have their good and bad sides. You just hope you come out the other end with more positives. I couldn’t split them but writing is probably my favourite element because it’s just the four of us,” says Ross.
When it comes to song writing the band explain that they get the basis of a song and then put all the “wanky pedal bits” on top of it. Add a solo and they have what should be known as the “Swerve classic formula.”
“Our writing sessions are always mired by hour long free jazz improvisations and pseudo-technobeat freak outs infused with flavours of Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’ on smack so it can be a bit of a slog sometimes.”
So with an EP on the way and a number of raved about live shows under their belts you don’t have any excuse for not checking out Swerve, arguably the best thing to come out of Birmingham since Lenny Henry and the word ‘bab’.
Swerve’s 12” EP is available for preview and preorder at their Bandcamp page and the band will be releasing more information on this in the next few weeks so keep your eye on their Facebook page for updates.