A Day Late: Adam Franklin—Spent Bullets
September 29, 2009
Posted by on
Adam Franklin—Spent Bullets
I was a little late in the game getting on board with Swervedriver, but when I did, I was a happy camper. So, when I stumbled across Adam Franklin’s “Spent Bullets” I was more than happy to hand over the steering wheel to him. And I wasn’t disappointed. “Bullets” is a tasty, gauzy, bubbly seaside blanket to wrap yourself in. It’s got all that sweet fuzz and sonic detail of Swervedriver, but this time around it’s more direct. For all Franklin’s layering of that sonic detail, the hint of a harness gives the work a beautiful tension and immediacy. Not to say Swervedriver was chaotically out of control, but this isn’t as cold-cocking as Swervedriver. And that bit of restraint really drives the melodies to the forefront. And he’s got them in spades.
And speaking of … “Bolts of Melody” is a fine, fine example. With an intro reminiscent of eels, the song becomes a plea (or at least to me …) for a sweet melody to come to Franklin. And what’s masking that plea float on up to the ether? Why, it’s a gorgeous melody of course—how fitting. Those melodies make up the backbone of “Spent Bullets.” You can’t get away from them. And with tracks like “It Hurts to See You Go,” “Big Sur” (with its slightly Hendrix-y solo break) and “Champs,” Franklin attempts no escape.
Franklin makes no attempt to distance himself from Swervedriver on his solo disc, but also doesn’t wring his hands to make an overwrought simulacrum of his band. While looking back to the touchstone that Swervedriver is, Franklin keeps one eye looking forward, vertically rather than horizontally.