Wednesday 14 February 2024

Swell - Well?

The connoisseur's choice for best guitar cd of 1992. That's me and me old mate Tony but somebody at Melody Maker liked it too and somebody at 3PBS-FM Melbourne and I guess it got a cd release in Australia and me old mate Dan from Grafton liked it too... but you know I guess it wasn't a sleeper hit like Slanted And Enchanted or Spiderland or a guaranteed blockbuster like Copper Blue or Automatic For The People or have a cult-y groundswell status like PJ Harvey, Screaming Trees or Red House Painters... yet it's surely the coolest guitar record of the early 90s.

David Freel was the most detached deadpan fella out there. He wasn't doin no cheese or overtly emotional crap, nah his gloomy yet understated post-154 neo-psych jams were stoic, cryptic and cool. I hazard a guess that this is the exact reason Well? isn't a popular record and only an acquired taste, despite having swinging drum hooks galore and melodically mysterious guitar lines to die for. 

The bittersweet noir of Swell's Well? is even better than I remember. 


The hit single! not...(In a perfect world.....)

There's magic on this when that bendy cosmic guitar line and those drums do that hypnotic push/pull thing... glorious.

An impeccably considered simmering jam of the highest order where the menace and tension are tightly controlled, restraint before histrionics.

Throwing out their most angular shapes and apprehensive dialogue. 

"Your TV and talking is wasting my time"

"I see shadows on the bright side"

This insidious gloom just gets under your skin. 


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