[sic] Magazine

Magnetic Morning – AM

There’s every chance Magnetic Morning might have escaped my attention were it not for the excellent interview in the latest edition of The Big Takeover. Magnetic Morning is the combination of Interpol drummer Sam Fogarino with Swervedriver frontman, Adam Franklin. Jack Rabid, a staunch supporter of both, played cupid and brokered the union. Cheers Jack. Well played because the resultant AM is a terrific little record.

Could Swervedriver have been the most influential of all the late 80’s, early 90’s Shoegazer bands? There’s a strong argument in favour. Shoegaze lives on today, in rude health, in the USA and the Swervies were THE most US-centric of all those original UK artists. Franklin has never really deserted his muse in all the years since. AM follows in the rich tradition of Toshack Highway and Franklins solo records. And yet this is already doing a disservice to Fogarino. Listening to promos, especially when devoid of information, there’s always the risk of making assumptions. It would be easy to assume that writer and singer Franklin was the creative force here. What, therefore, must drummer Fogarino done besides drum? Or maybe played bass if we’re being really imaginative.

Not so. Many of the tracks here were conjured first by Sam, relishing the opportunity to explore his creative and melodic sides. Adam would then intercede using his more developed writing senses to help complete the songs. How does it sound? Well AM should come as no surprise or disappointment to any Swervedriver fan or indeed anyone who’s followed Franklins career since. The music somehow both revved up and blissed out at the same time. We’re on a highway, certainly. Not just any highway but an epic, southern gothic or post-apocalyptic freeway such as Roger Zelazny’s Damnation Alley or Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. And it isn’t ZZ Top on the radio. It’s ‘Heaven Up Here’ era Bunnymen, The Stones, Sonic Youth and Teenage Fanclub.

AM starts good and just gets better and better. Opener ‘Spring Unseen’ owes a debt to Joy Division’s ‘Wilderness’ although the chorus goes somewhere else entirely. As the record draws near its close on the gorgeous ‘And I wonder’, the subject matter is SO Franklin you can be forgiven for forgetting what you’re actually hearing, namely a rhythmic pounding not a million miles from Interpol’s recent highlight ‘Rest My Chemistry’. In-between is quite simply track after track of excellence. Too many to single out but I will anyway. ‘No Direction’ is my personal favourite. It seems to draw upon the best bits of my entire record collection. Rock, punk, post punk, C86, Shoegaze, even ambient before rolling it all into something completely fresh and ‘now’.

Magnetic Morning then. Two excellent musicians and one highly interesting collaboration. One wonders which other diverse artists Jack Rabid could push together if the results are to be of this high standard? (Send in your wish lists via e-mail)

AM is a record of moody atmospherics and lush melodies. Play it to wash away the banality of everyday life.