Sunday, 10 September 2017

Oliver!: Swell - Down (28 March 1992)

Peel played this as the last of a medley of three records by bands who he described variously as "A consumers guide to what you're going to pretend to like next" and "The next big thing after the next big thing".  When he said that two of the bands began with the letter S, I found myself wondering whether one of them might have been Suede, despite the orthodoxy that Peel had never played them.  Anyway, the run started with Conduit for Sale by Pavement followed by Decatur by Seam.  Nothing in either of those tunes to distract me from the washing up.  However, when Decatur was followed by  the cavernous guitar riff at the top of the third track supplemented by an acoustic guitar strumming confidently away underneath, I really did think for a moment that it might be Suede as it seemed to encapsulate all those breathless adjectives that journalists used to use about the world beating possibilities that they had.  And then the vocal came in, several octaves down from Brett Anderson's range and I could relax and take the track in on its own terms.
To be fair, after such a stunning opening, the verses, which seem to focus on a long, enjoyable night getting stoned and trying to make it through to the next day, couldn't help but seem like a slight anti-climax.  But for its air guitar possibilities alone, Down would be guaranteed a place on the metaphorical mixtape.
Swell never did become the next big thing, but continue to release albums and EPs into the 21st century.  Hopefully more of their work turns up in future Peel shows.

Video courtesy of pierolivio.

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