Swervedriver released their first album in nearly 17 years this spring, I Wasn’t Born to Lose You. A good return for the band that had a huge impact on my music leaning in my late teens and early 20s. It made me revisit all of their back catalogue quite thoroughly, and brought me back to their best album, which turned 20 this year.
Ejector Seat Reservation was released in 1995. It was the band’s third full length, only 2 years after the awesome Mezcal Head. It is the band at their zenith: psychedelic guitarwork, sprawling spacey melodies, layers of washed sound rooted by Jez Hindmarsh’s brilliant drumming and Steve Gorge’s deep bass grooves, and cohesive themes of flight and fatalism. But almost no one got to hear it: it’s the band’s only full length never to get a US release. The Swervie’s domestic label, A&M, said they didn’t have room to release it for a year, and let the band out of their contract, but withheld the album for an exorbitant amount when the band tried to buy it back for a proper launch. And then Creation, their UK label, dropped the band a week after Ejector Seat‘s July release, so there was no UK promotion. Had it been properly promoted and released, it would have been the band’s biggest album to date. It was part of the zeitgeist of the mid 1990s, a pristinely captured record of the times. My friend and I were able to score a UK import, and it became the soundtrack of our first fall in Chicago. So it’s had a major impact on me.
The same friend and I we’re listening to it last night again, and incidentally it still hasn’t lost it’s brilliance one bit. But it prompted me to ask why, again, we’ve never ever gotten the proper US release of this disc. Thanks to twitter, I put my query out for the world to see. And bless the Swervie’s, I got an answer, though not the one I wished for:
So for now the album still languishes in A&M hell, but hopefully it will get the release it so richly deserves. It’s too late for a 20th anniversary release, but here’s hoping for 25. But here’s a sample, so listen to what you’ve been missing. It’s worth it.