Son of Mustang Ford, which was ultimately released in 1990, had its original recording tucked away for a staggering period of over thirty years before it was rediscovered by the venerable SWERVEDRIVER of Oxford in the year 2020. Upon reflecting upon the recording through the lens of hindsight, now bearing the new appellation of Petroleum Spirit Daze, it becomes abundantly clear that it not only embodies the musical expression of a band teetering on the cusp of a breakthrough, specifically under the guidance of Creation Records’ singular Svengali, Alan McGee, but it also reflects the passionate and determined efforts of four young men who were willing to pour their hearts and souls into their craft amidst an increasingly tumultuous world.
“Creation was actually the last label to whom we had handed a tape of our demo,” explains guitarist/vocalist, Adam Franklin. “We sent one to Blast First because they’d put out records by Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. Another to Glass Records because they’d recently released music by Spacemen 3, and the last tape we had in our possession we gave over to Ride’s Mark Gardener who in turned passed it on to Alan McGee.”
McGee was in Los Angeles with The House of Love’s Guy Chadwick when he finally got around to listening to the band’s demo and decided there and then to not only give them a record deal but book them to open for Chadwick’s mercurial outfit at Liverpool Royal Court.
Teaming up with producer and close friend Tim Turan, who’d recorded the very demo which got them signed, the band ventured into deepest, darkest Surrey to make their debut EP for Creation Records at the House in the Woods Studio.
“After we finished recording, I took a copy with me to Seville where I was having a week’s holiday with my girlfriend,” recalls Franklin. “There was weed and oranges everywhere and I remember looking out across the water at Morocco, listening to these songs.”
Upon his return, Swervedriver were instructed by McGee to rerecord the EP in London in an attempt to keep the band “lean and mean”, which they duly did, allowing Creation to release a revised version of their debut as the Son of Mustang Ford EP that summer.
Yet thirty years on the original House of the Woods recording still resonates with the band. From the dynamism-rich guitar play of ‘Volcano Trash’, to the measured and mindful melody of ‘Juggernaut Rides’ and near weightless denouement of ‘Kill the Superheroes’, Petroleum Spirit Daze is as good as Swervedriver has ever sounded. Even ‘Son of Mustang’ itself, the only track here of the four to have seen the light of day (it appeared on an NME/Creation cassette circa 1991) captures a moment in time, integral to the band’s inevitable ascension.