As the singer and principal songwriter for Swervedriver throughout the '90s, Adam Franklin rarely settled for less when he could find a way to add more. His shoe-gaze outfit, unlike many of its dreamier cohorts, excelled at brute force, piling on the effects pedals and overdubs to inflict maximum sonic carnage. In less skillful hands, the full-on, near-metallic assault might have overwhelmed, but Franklin's top-notch songwriting always ensured that there was beauty lurking just beneath his songs' tough exteriors.
Since Swervedriver's dissolution in 1999, Franklin has released two solo records under the Toshack Highway moniker. Both made his love of '60s folk—always an undercurrent in his work—explicit, with melodies stripped bare and his voice prominently featured in the mix. The just-released Bolts of Melody is his third solo record (but the first put out under his proper name). Despite a few overt nods to the Swervedriver days in songs like the opener "Seize the Day," and "Shining Somewhere," Bolts stays faithful to the more organic, elemental sound he has forged over the past decade. And simplicity suits him well, especially on "Syd's Eyes," a plaintive tribute to the late, great Syd Barrett. Certainly some will long for Swervedriver's blunt trauma, but for everyone else, Franklin continues to prove that even when turning down the volume, his talent comes through loud and clear.
ADAM FRANKLIN performs on WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17, at the 400 BAR; 612.332.2903
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.