With Swervedriver, Adam Franklin had an eight-year run
spinning out dreamy textures of distorted guitar that, however, loud they might
turn in live performance, had an unruffled serenity to them. Bolts of Melody, following a quieter
interlude as Toshack Highway,
pursues the same muscular, feedback-glazed reveries as Swervedriver, its
reflective melodies hedged with swirling masses of guitar sound. Franklin’s band – which now includes Ley Taylor on guitar,
Josh Stoddard on bass, Gerard Menke on pedal steel – has gotten noticeably more
confident on second Bolts outing I Could Sleep for a Thousand Years, building
dense, hallucinatory thickets of sound around Franklin’s rueful songs.
“Yesterday Has Gone Forever,” the album’s first cut and one
of its best, pits soft, ruminative lyrics against a firestorm of distorted
guitar a la My Bloody Valentine. Its instrumental layers shimmer, waver and
fade like heat mirages in psychedelic uncertainty. “I’ll Be Your Mechanic” leans more into Sonic
Youth’s lyrical washes of feedback, a muted roar cresting under Franklin’s worn-in murmur. “She
Is Closer Now Than I’ve Ever Been” is janglier, quieter, more introspective,
yet haunted by the same bittersweet backwards-looking. And
long, lovely “Take Me Too My Leader,” follows a shambolic tambourine over brightly
colored melodies that have the symmetry of pop, the gauzy luminosity of
experimental guitar rock.
Even without the guitar-driven sturm und drang, this would be one of 2010’s prettiest pop
records. With it, it’s something else
altogether stronger, more dramatic and more affecting.
Tracks: “Yesterday Has Gone Forever” “She Is Closer Now Than I’ve
Ever Been” “Take Me To My Leader” JENNIFER