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Hanging on a sound pioneered by slackers and underachievers is limiting in the same way that only having two members is, but Sydney fuzz-punks The Swells push those limitations as far as they can on their debut EP Shut Up and Listen … To The Swells.
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With only three tracks to make their point, The Swells waste no time, opening with a squeal of uncontrolled feedback and the aggressive rock and roll workout of Head In The Sand. Heavy garage rock influences are apparent as the band work over simple riffs with guitar-punishing strums, and caveman drums keep the pace dumb and pumping.
Recorded mostly in one take, the EP has a live energy to it that lends itself very particularly to this raw style of music, and the imperfections give it character where a more perfect recording might sound dull and staid.
Tonally, the band achieve something like old syrup filled with dying flies, with thick bass fuzz and reckless amounts of gain filling the space. Their brand of swaggering rock and roll comes away from the bone with minimum fuss and the sneering, lackadaisical vocals show a clear through-line from The Stooges to Slaves to the impetuous pub-rock aggression that Australians do so well.
Recorded mostly in one take, the EP has a live energy to it that lends itself very particularly to this raw style of music, and the imperfections give it character where a more perfect recording might sound dull and staid. If you’re looking for something with layers of depth and complexity, this probably isn’t it. But if you’re looking for something to skate to, or party to, or fight to, there are worse bands to look to than The Swells.
STANDOUT TRACKS: Head In The Sand, Give It Back
STICK THIS NEXT TO: The Stooges, Slaves, DZ Deathrays