The Swellers

The Light Under Closed Doors

Written by: PP on 11/12/2013 21:00:21

Fans can stop worrying; The Swellers' sound is virtually unchanged on their fifth album "The Light Under Closed Doors" if you discount for the slightly (and I mean that in the most miniscule way possible) reduced tempo in their songs. The bright, yet simultaneously oddly melancholic lead vocals, the pedal to the floor pop punk tracks, the basic chord-based instrumentation? It's all there. But where third album "Ups And Downsizing" four years ago was their breakthrough and 2011's "Good For Me" the record where they solidified their songwriting department with some meat around the bones, the new album is ironically close to their previous EP title, "Running Out Of Places To Go".

Why's that, you ask? Well, there's only so many things you can do with the high pitch, pop-styled vocal delivery without changing nothing, and I mean it when I say it, nothing at all. The slower songs are designed to expand The Swellers' sound, but in fact they do quite the opposite and reveal their inner weakness that was previously masked by the awesome speed and energy that the songs were delivered with. Now, with many a song, I find myself yawning and wondering when the next good one's on, and unfortunately, aside from "Should" which is one of the best songs of their career, and arguably "Becoming Self-Aware", there's little hear to appease but the hardcore Swellers fan. I'm usually all for bands not changing, but if you're going to write the same album you're going to need to do minor tweaks to the songs to avoid it all just sounding so samey, which is very much the case here. Just like you can tell Bad Religion songs on different albums from one another, you should be able to do here. Occasionally you can argue for that being the case, but "Designated Driver" is perhaps the most symptomatic of the above because by slowing down the tempo, it sounds even more like Bayside than The Swellers did the past, except Bayside already wrote this same song and made it sound better.

Frankly said, "The Light Under Closed Doors" doesn't really do anything better overall from its predecessors. That's why it feels so tired despite its still relatively high tempo (on Swellers scale, this means slow) - is the band out of ideas or are they simply trying to write bigger songs while ignoring the ultra catchy songwriting found on songs like "2009", "Do You Feel Better Yet?", "Runaways", "The Best I Ever Had", and many others? Besides, when was slower ever better?

6

Download: Should, Becoming Self-Aware, Favorite Tune
For the fans of: Elway, Broadway Calls, Bayside, Heartsounds
Listen: Facebook

Release date 29.10.2013
No Sleep Records

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