Saturday, June 2, 2007

The Swellers

This is Their Everest

Dark hopefulness is sewn into the music with brilliant eloquence throughout The Swellers pop-punk tour de force, "My Everest". The songs call to mind the glory days of melodic punk where throaty anthems condemned apathy and hyperactive guitars provided mosh pits with the fuel they had waited for. The sound on the record is both a sonic tribute to the sound that shaped their genre and a work of pure innovation. It blends the old and the new effortlessly, implementing virtuoso like instrumentation and vocals that range from a soft baritone croon to a full, gut blasting, bellow.

Two standout tracks on “My Everest” are “Vehicle City” and “The Way Back Home”, both of which are essentially love letters to the city of Flint. “Vehicle City” is the album’s opening and it’s about the Flint scene’s deterioration after The Flint Local closed last year. It’s an almost gut wrenching reminder of the good times so many people had there and a dark image of the skeleton of a scene that’s left behind. “The Way Back Home” is the albums closer, and is the band’s thank you letter to their hometown and a promise that they’ll never forget the friends they’ve made.

Other tracks that take The Swellers tried and true formula for melodic punk rock and build upon it are “The Flood”, “This is My Everest”, and “Clean Slate”. They almost seem to pick up directly where their EP, “Beginning of the End Again”, left off, pushing the boundaries of the entire genre. Another characteristic that the record has is a surprising amount of diversity. Two tracks in particular, “Keep Looking Where Your Eyes are Looking Now” and “Skoots” are heart wrenching, with Nick Diener’s vocals bordering on beautiful. The songs are both about Flint band Takeout’s fallen member Skoots. It’s a challenge to listen to all of “Keep Looking…” without tearing up.

Five years ago, a band was formed in Fenton, MI to play local shows and keep the true aesthetic of punk rock alive. Five years later that band has evolved into one of the single most talented band out of the Flint scene. “My Everest” may just be the record that launches The Swellers to national notoriety, but whether it does or not, it’s almost certain that they’ll never stop playing.

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