One sure sign of a great rock & roll record: The louder you play it, the better it gets. Crank Swervedriver’s first major-label album, Raise, to the max and you won’t be disappointed. By combining overdubbed guitar tweaks, squeals, and wah-wahs with barely audible vocals, this band creates a surging wall of noise both exhilarating and remarkably cohesive. Obviously influenced by longtime American alternative faves Dinosaur Jr., this British quartet knows its stuff (unless its framing of the album opener, ”Sci-Flyer,” with Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ”Born on the Bayou” riff is accidental, which I doubt) and writes punchy tunes with hooks both musical and lyrical. My major adrenaline rush here comes one minute and 30 seconds into ”Pile-Up” as singer Adam Franklin offhandedly sings, ”Let’s just get in the car/And let’s just drive,” and a flood of guitars kicks in; your own adrenaline rush could easily come elsewhere. Raise may not be flawless, but its first three tracks come closer to perfection than just about anything else out there this year. B+
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