Home Read Albums Of The Day: Swerve | Ruin Your Day

Albums Of The Day: Swerve | Ruin Your Day

Punk, politics and psychedelia propel the L.A. outfit's dynamic debut disc.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Swerve are a Los Angeles rock band led by Gregory Mahdesian (vocals and guitar) and Ryan Berti (guitar and vocals), featuring Brandon Duncan (bass and vocals) and Mark Gardner (drums). Their music is gleefully inspired by nearly every era of rock history to create a unique sound that could only exist in the here and now. Taking their cues from punk, psychedelia, British Invasion guitar pop and modern indie, Swerve sit comfortably alongside contemporaries like Queens of the Stone Age, Ty Segall and Car Seat Headrest as well as classic artists like Blur and Oasis. They craft songs that grab you fast, with larger-than-life choruses filled with hooks that stay with you.

After self-producing their first two EPs, which achieved success on the radio and built them a dedicated following in their hometown of L.A., the band decided to hire a producer to help them craft a full-length. Unfortunately, their first attempt didn’t go well: An indie-pop producer’s techniques and sonic pallets clashed with their songs’ intensity, and they decided to regroup and try again.

Luckily they were put in touch with producer Adam Lasus (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Army Navy, Helium), who had crafted some of their favorite records from their teenage years, and they instantly bonded with him over a shared love of artists like Teenage Fanclub, The La’s and The Replacements. Adam helped the band lean into rather than shy away from their influences, pump up the volume, and tap into a raw live energy while tracking. His collection of nearly 100 vintage guitars helped get them in the spirit.

Gregory Mahdesian says: “Ruin Your Day was one of the first songs we recorded for the album and it really set the tone for the rest of the songs both sonically and thematically, which is one of the reasons we named the record after it. It’s a guitar heavy, political, psychedelic punk love song about sticking together with your partner while the world throws crazy s at you. We wrote it after Proud Boys and other misogynistic thugs caused havoc at L.A. bars. We were upset — this is our city, not theirs — and this became a fantasy about making sure they had a miserable experience, of standing alongside your person and ruining those guys’ day. I wouldn’t call it peaceful, but it is a love song!

“I don’t know if we’ve ever had a song come together so quickly. The louder and faster it got, the better it sounded, and we went really wild in the instrumental breakdown with feedback and weird guitar parts while the bass and drums hold it down. I think it was the first time I ever shouted on a recording too. It’s one of the most fun songs to play live and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s a dark but good time.”

Writing most of the album between 2018 and 2020, Gregory found himself composing politically minded love songs. Ruin Your Day, Escape, Bush v Gore (the band contend we all live in the wreckage of that fateful Supreme Court decision) and End of the World each touch on themes of finding meaning in companionship while everything else is falling apart. Some songs are less optimistic in spirit, discussing fears of never achieving what you expected you would (Disassociate) and failing relationships (Do You Want To Give In?, Maybe I Didn’t Do That), but they’re all tied together by massive melodies, memorable guitars, and infectious rhythm.

Creating this record while soldiering through personal developments, constant political engagement and, of course, quarantine, they are now hitting new levels of excitement with songs ranging from fierce to ethereal, all inspired by navigating through life as the world seems to be crumbling.”