Anyone familiar with the shoegazing scene of the early 1990s would no doubt have heard of Adam Franklin, once frontman in Swervedriver; a group who earned critical acclaim despite being pigeonholed in a much-derided genre. Swervedriver stopped making records almost ten years ago now but Franklin has continued making music, firstly with Toshack Highway and now with his debut solo effort. As one could expect for a relatively old campaigner; there are shades of the past but plenty of refined moments as if Franklin is tired of those loud effects pedals that were once Swervedriver's trademark.
Nevertheless, 'Bolts Of Melody' begins with a blast from the past; the fuzzy, grunged-up 'Seize The Day' could have come from any of the early records from Franklin's erstwhile band. It's a disarming but also unrepresentative offering as Franklin soon settles into a relaxed style. The effects remain but they're balanced out against countrified guitars for 'Morning Rain', whilst a track called 'Birdsong' is performed in both glam and Nick Drake-style. It's accomplished music but it can lack a spark. The best moments occur on 'Song Of Solomon' (as a strummed acoustic guitar competes with a beautiful electric melody), another return to the grungy past for 'Shining Somewhere' and an experimental space-influenced number named 'Walking In Heaven's Foothills'. For these times, it's another reason to pay homage to one of the unsung heroes of the alternative scene.