The Swellers

Good For Me

Written by: PP on 26/07/2011 01:56:08

In my review of "Ups And Downsizing", the previous album by 2009's media darlings The Swellers, I described them as a "more 'rock' version" of emotionally charged punkers Bayside, a statement which holds stronger than ever on their third full length "Good For Me" (fourth if you include their self-released debut from 2003). The fast-paced, although ever-so-bright d-beat punk from many of the songs on that album has been replaced with ever more subtle and layered vocal melodies that shift the band towards nostalgia-driven rock, which is exactly the place where you'll find Bayside, Alkaline Trio and others like them.

Don't get me wrong, though, it's not all emotive rock on "Good For Me". The quintessential The Swellers sound is still present in significant portions throughout the album: bright rock harmonies, great vocal hooks, and honest-sounding guitar melodies are all key components of The Swellers anno 2011. But songs like "Parkview" and "The Damage" are certainly more emotionally charged and feel like they include more depth than what we've heard in the past from the band. On the contrary, then, we have up-beat pop rockers like "Runaways", that should remind you of Cartel's debut album in a way, or "Inside My Head", which might be the band at their most poppy to date, and yet both styles suit the band. If anything, the variation makes the record better because it's not all d-beat drum rhythms. Even the slower ballads sound good for a change, largely thanks to the down-to-earth vocal work of Nick Diener that's just so easy to like and enjoy.

The second half of the record may not contain as many super-catchy, immediately infectious pieces like those mentioned earlier, but they're still driven by bright harmonies that make them worthwhile listens as well. "Best I Ever Had" being an exception, however, given its power chorus that makes it the perfect single candidate on the record.

Just like on the first half of the record, the pop punk elements are being slowly and almost unnoticeably exchanged with a subtle move towards bright rock music, into a place where The Swellers aren't so easily categorized or pigeonholed into a single genre within it. That's good, because it will ensure the band more recognition from the mainstream press. Though the cynic inside of me feels like nagging that the move is likely to result into songs becoming more poppy and therefore more boring, that simply isn't the case here, because The Swellers just write great songs.

8

Download: Runaways, Parkview, The Damage, The Best I Ever Had
For the fans of: Bayside, Broadway Calls, Alkaline Trio, The Ataris
Listen: Myspace

Release date 14.06.2011
Fueled By Ramen

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