"Hitchhiker" kicks things off in forceful style, a hard driven stoner/desert romp with an insistent fuzz drenched groove that fans of bands like Fu Manchu, Truckfighters and early Red Fang would sell a kidney to acquire for their music collections. Vocals come from much the same ballpark as the music , clean melodic tones that are a mixture of lead and dual harmonies with any grittiness kept to a bare minimum and zero traces of harshness, in other words a very much "old school" style of what we currently call stoner rock. For their next track, "Summit" Swell O introduce a little psych into the equation, the songs groove still staying very much within the stoner/desert parameters of the previous track but this time sprinkled with a liberal pinch of cosmic haziness. That haziness extends itself into following song "Black Cat" but here takes on a more circular swirly dynamic with the heavily filtered vocals possessing a tone not too dissimilar to those found on early Nebula recordings. "Earthship No,2" is somewhat of a departure from what has gone before mainly due to its vocals, which are delivered in a clipped tone that gives them an almost goth(ic) feel, a feel reflected in the songs grooves which are still stoner/desert in flavour but are tinted with a darker edginess. It is fully understandable that Swell O should choose "Morning Haze" as the song to name their album after as it is a song that perfectly captures what the band are all about, its throbbing desert groove and ear catching vocal melodies are just so joyous and life affirming that its hard not to just keep hitting the repeat button and attempt to live in the moment for eternity, if people tell you that stoner rock has seen better days then just play them this track and walk away smugly smiling. "Shine Through" carries much the same vibe as its predecessor only this time with a touch more bluesiness in its attack as well as a little extra heavy psych haziness while final song "Venom" takes its lead from the punk and garage rock that fuelled the desert movements early days, its furious groove and staccato type vocal delivery possess a gnarly infectiousness that will appeal to fans of both Kyuss and Black Flag alike.
Things get hot'n'nasty straight from the off with "To The Bone" a raucous riff laden rocker that struts and stumbles along at a fine old pace incorporating along the way all the cliches and tropes we have come to expect from music with a southern bias, multiple guitar attack, husky vocal tones and lyrics that reference smoking weed and drinking alcohol, but it doesn't matter because this is exactly what we want when listening to music of this ilk and MuffDiver deliver it perfectly. Things couldn't get more "down home" you might be thinking but then they do with next track "The Healer" which finds the band jamming a song that can't decide if its a country tinged lament or a furious southern rock torch song and so settles on being both. "Childish Cruelty" and its follow up "In Your Honour" we shall deal with together as they both deal with depression and suicide with a level of candour and intelligence rare in rock music, the former chronicling an extreme reaction to years of childhood bullying, against a backdrop of groove reminiscent of early Black Stone Cherry, and the latter a heart wrenching open letter written to a troubled friend who the author knows will never read it, the song played out to a soundtrack of swirling bluesy guitars and sympathetic rhythms with the songs lyrics delivered in a voice wracked with a myriad of conflicting emotions. After the raw and heavy emotional subject matter of the last two songs you will be in sore need of something to raise the spirits and "Complete the Mission" does just that, it is an up-tempo romp driven by thundering bass and tight solid drumming that sees all three guitarists furiously competing with each other to be top dog, and if that's not enough there's even some crazy parping harmonica howling around the gritty soulful vocals to seal the deal and leave you with a big sloppy grin on your face
"My true end is the advancement of knowledge, and therefore have Ipublished this poor work, not only to impart the good thereof, to thoseyoung ones that want it, but also to draw from the learned, the supplyof my defects.
They adjourned to the music-room, which deserved its title. Save someseats, which were artfully formed to resemble lyres, nothing broke thecontinuity of music's tones, which ascended majestically to the loftydome, there to blend and wreath, and fall again. At one extremity ofmusic's hall was an organ; at the other a grand piano, built by a Germancomposer. Ranged on carved slabs, at intermediate distances, was placedalmost every instrument that may claim a votary. Of viols, from the violinto the double bass,--of instruments of brass, from trombones and basskettledrums even unto trumpet and cymbal,--of instruments of wood, fromwinding serpents to octave flute,--and of fiddles of parchment, from thegrosse caisse to the tambourine. Nor were ancient instruments wanting.These were of quaint forms and diverse constructions. Mr. Græme woulddescant for hours on an antique species of spinnet, which he procured fromthe East, and which he vehemently averred, was the veritable dulcimer. Hewould display with great gusto, his specimens of harps of Israel; whosedeep-toned chorus, had perchance thrilled through the breast of more thanone of Judea's dark-haired daughters. Greece, too, had herrepresentatives, to remind the spectators that there had been an Orpheus.There were flutes of the Doric and of the Phrygian mode, and--let usforget not--the Tyrrhenian trumpet, with its brazen-cleft pavilion. But byfar the greater part of his musical relics he had acquired during his stayin Italy. He could show the litui with their carved clarions--the twistedcornua--the tuba, a trumpet so long and taper,--the concha wound byTritons--and eke the buccina, a short and brattling horn.
"I am a terrible Cockney, Sir Henry,--found it very cold, and was verysulky. The only man I cared to see in Scotland was at the Lakes; but Ikept a register of events, which is now on the table in mydressing-room. If Græme will read it, for I am but a stammerer, it isat your service."
By the way, we have thought over heartless professions, and cannot helpconceiving that of a postman, (it may be conceit!) the most callous andunfeeling of all. He is waited for with more anxiety than any guest ofthe morning; for his visits invariably convey something new to the mind.He is not love! but he bears it in his pocket; he cannot be friendship!but he daily hawks about its assurances. With all this, knowing hisimportance, aware of the sensation his appearance calls forth, his veryknock is heartless--the tones of his voice cold. Feeling seems deniedhim; his head is a debtor and creditor account, his departure thereceipt, and time alone can say, whether your bargain has been a good ora bad one. He has certainly no assumption--it is one of his few goodtraits; he walks with his arms in motion, but attempts not a swagger;his knock is unassuming, and his words, though much attended to, arefew, and to the point. Why, then, abuse him? We know not, but believe itoriginates in fear. An intuitive feeling of dread--a rushingpresentiment of evil--crosses our mind, as our eye dwells on histhread-bare coat, with its capacious pockets. News of a death--or amarriage--the tender valentine--the remorseless dun--your having beenleft an estate, or cut off with a shilling--fortune, and misfortune--hequietly dispenses, as if totally unconscious. Surely such a man--hisround performed--cannot quietly sink to the private individual. Can sucha man caress his wife, or kiss his child, when he knows not how manyhearts are bursting with joy, or breaking with sorrow, from the tidingshe has conveyed? To our mind, a postman should be an abstractedvisionary being, endowed with a peculiar countenance, betraying theunnatural sparkle of the opium-eater, and evincing intense anxiety atthe delivery of each sheet. But these,--they wait not to hear the joyfulshout, or heart-rending moan--to know if hope deferred be at lengthjoyful certainty, or bitter only half-expected woe. We dread a postman.Our hand shook, as we last year paid the man of many destinies hisdemanded Christmas box.
Delmé's voyage was not unpropitious, although the yacht was frequentlybaffled by contrary winds, which prevented the passage being veryspeedy. During the day, the weather was ordinarily blustering, at timesstormy; but with the setting sun, it seemed that tranquillity came; forduring the nights, which were uncommonly fine, gentle breezes continuedto fill the sails, and their vessel made tardy but sure progress. Henrywould sit on deck till a late hour, lost in reverie. There would heremain, until each idle mariner was sunk to rest; and nothing but thedistant tread of the wakeful watch, or the short cough of the helmsman,bespoke a sentinel over the habitation on the waters. How would therecollections of his life crowd upon him!--the loss of his parent--theworld's first opening--bitter partings--painful misgivings--the lonebivouac--the marshalling of squadrons--the fierce charge--theexcitement of victory, whose charm was all but flown, for where were thecomrades who had fought beside him? These things were recalled, andbrought with them alternate pain and pleasure. And a less remote era ofhis life would be presented him; when he tasted the welcome of home--sawhands uplifted in gratitude--was cheered by a brother's greeting, andsubdued by a sister's kiss. But there was a thought, which let himdwell as he might on others, remained the uppermost of all. It was ofJulia Vernon, and met him as a reproach. If his feelings were not ofthat enthusiastic nature, which they might have been were he now in hisgreen youth, they were not on this account the less intense. They werecoloured by the energy of manhood. He had lost a portion of hisself-respect: for he knew that his conduct had been vacillating withregard to one, whom each traversed league, each fleeting hour, proved tobe yet dearer than he had deemed her. 2b1af7f3a8