Petroleum Spirit Daze by Swervedriver

The shoegaze giants release the original version of their debut EP recorded thirty years ago.

30 years ago, the young ​‘uns in Swervedriver — newly emerged from the ashes of their previous band, Shake Appeal — recorded the first draft of their debut EP for Creation Records. Creation mogul Alan McGee rejected it and had the band record a new version of the EP, which was ultimately released on July 16, 1990 as the Son of Mustang Ford EP.

However, the band held onto that original recording, and have finally released it as Petroleum Spirit Daze, three decades after the fact. Although they admit that it sounds more like ​“Shake Appeal playing Swervedriver songs” and describe it as ​“tentative,” that initial EP still contains plenty of rough charm. ​“Son of Mustang Ford” rocks hard in any form (even the more sedate one here) and ​“Juggernaut Rides” is always a rollicking good time.

Though many of their peers in the shoegaze camp opted for dreamily melancholy soundscapes, I always loved that Swervedriver just barreled ahead, full tilt, with their guitars roaring at full volume and singing about cars and UFOs rather than, say, rainy days and existential angst. And as this EP proves, that approach was present in the band’s music from the very start.