During the golden age of shoegaze in the late '80s and early '90s, British act Swervedriver never quite gained the prestige of Creation Records contemporaries like My Bloody Valentine or Ride, but established a dedicated following of their own with their somewhat more aggressive initial approach to bent guitar tones and dreamlike alternative pop that slowly progressed into more psychedelic and jangly pop sounds. The band took most of the 2000s off, calling it a day after 1998's excellent 99th Dream but reuniting in 2008 for various tours and performances. I Wasn't Born to Lose You marks Swervedriver's fifth album and their first new material in over 15 years. Despite the time off, I Wasn't Born to Lose You charges out of the gates with all the power of their 1991 debut, Raise, while picking up on exploratory songwriting and daydreamy moods where 99th Dream left off. Raise was notoriously an album of hard-edged shoegaze rockers full of references to cars and driving. Band founder Adam Franklin's long-burning love affair with automobiles touched on lots of his material solo and with Swervedriver, and it's fitting that this album begins with "Autodidact," a propulsive rocker peppered with lyrics about gas stations and nighttime drives. The band's other love -- inventive and unexpected guitar tones -- is present in abundance all over the album as well, from the quick-shifting dance of different layers of distortion on "Last Rites" to the patient, narcotic drifts of feedback on "Everso." Early single "Deep Wound" blurs together burning riffs, high-pitched synth lines, and buried, distorted vocals from Franklin's faraway rasp, sounding every bit as lonesome and twilight-colored as they did two decades earlier. Not a complete throwback to either the dusty driving anthems of Raise or the more multicolored pop of Mezcal Head and later albums, I Wasn't Born to Lose You sounds like a thoughtfully drawn continuation of Swervedriver's particular breed of carefully crafted dream pop. Their drive to push forward is refreshing, and the slight updates to the band's intricate signature sound results in an exciting comeback album and a statement that stands on its own regardless of its place in time.
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AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas