As I mentioned on my main Instagram, I’m ready to be part of the critical re-evaluation of Swervedriver’s 1998 one-time swan song 99th Dream, thanks to its new deluxe reissue which I happened to find at a very decent price and thought, “why not”. I bought the album on CD when it was first released a quarter-decade ago and still relatively early on in exploring this exciting new genre of music called “shoegaze” (the first wave of which had, of course, already imploded by the time I caught on). It didn’t do it for me then, as it didn’t contain the immediate pop bangers I probably needed to hold my attention, and it disappeared from my collection at some point over the years.
Even as I completed the rest of my Swervedriver collection/education over the years, I never felt the need to give the album another chance – as that would have meant re-purchasing it as these were physical media days – and it remains absent from major streaming platforms for reasons. But prompted by this glowing Pitchfork review – they’re not dead yet – and finding that the whole of the album is listenable at Bandcamp, I’m not only re-appreciating what 99th Dream offers, but am happily falling into a Swervedriver rabbit hole.
Single “These Times” is flagged in the P4K review as a key track not only to the album but the band’s discography as a whole, and it’s also selected by Adam Franklin as the evergreen song from the record in this excellent career-spanning discography review at Louder:
Key Track for 99th Dream:Adam Franklin, Swervedriver
“That’s a tricky one. The one track from this album that does always get in the sets is These Times, so we’ll go with that.”
“Our drummer left for a sandwich and never came back. We heard he was found wandering in no man’s land by Canadian Mounties”: An epic guide to every Swervedriver album in the band’s own words @ Louder
A version of the album was released in promo form by DGC that featured a different, faster and heavier mix of the song. But the label demanded a different direction for the song, with Franklin recollecting the experience to Noisey in another comprehensive discography review:
I had this bizarre situation of being in the studio alone with the engineer and the new A&R guy, who was telling the producer to rearrange “These Times,” with just the acoustics and without the electrics and the vocals. It was the first time I ever experienced that situation and it was really fucked up.Adam Franklin, Swervedriver
Rank Your Records: Adam Franklin Plays Favorites with Swervedriver’s Five Full-Lengths @ Noisey
Of course, the label dropped the band before releasing the record. It doesn’t sound like the version that ultimately appeared on the album (and the 2005 Juggernaut Rides compilation) was the aforementioned mix – it’s slower, but definitely still very electric –
It’s the faster arrangement that appears in the live sets though, as evidenced in this 2011 live clip from Sydney, Australia:
I haven’t done a Swervies post in almost a year and a half. Expect me to overcompensate in the next while.