Thursday, February 22, 2018

SWOLL's Self Titled Album Has An Immersive Sway- Dense Dreams With Ocean Deep Grooves - Read my words and hear : "Slow"

One of the best things about being a music blogger is finding little presents in your email box. A sonic piece of candy that just tastes so sweet. Today it is a self titled album by SWOLL the synthalicious bottom heavy thoroughly engaging electronic project of Matt Dowling who has played bass for a bevy of DC bands over the last ten years like Deleted Scenes, the Effects, Paperhaus, Joy Buttons and more. 

One of the most difficult thing for an artist to do is to define themselves with a sound. As a singer songwriter myself it can be frustrating creating songs with somewhat varied styles and NOT always a cohesive sound. SWOLL does not have this problem at least on this collection of songs. For the most part the sound is a stunning mix of heavy and light and over-modulation and drone is an entrancing way. I listened to the album all the way through and here are my immediate thoughts.

Back To You: It has such an immersive sway. It feels like a hyper slow dance under an umbrella of a million disco ball lights. Kind of somber but lovely too. In the end it feels like a tear stained love story. 
Shake is cagey but happy with such a heavy bottom end set off with high synth down beats amid an ocean deep groove.
Settle Up The Road might be the records novelty song but still brilliant and fun.
Budge feels emotionally wrought and wrung out. The over modulated sound vocally and instrumentally work against each other like arguments over a backyard fence. Conflicts of sound give it drama. 
Stars: The longest track at 4:48 oddly made me think of Peter Gabriel ("if looks could kill it probably will" or something like that) and as such has a serious gravitas about it. It has a wicked bass line but feels a little soap boxy.
Snow: For me it pushes the over-modulated vox one click too far but the chorus is undeniably catchy and pop infused. 
You've Gone Away is the most carefree and youthful sounding track on the record. It is it's sonic smile and will grow on me forever. Love this track. 
Stranger: That deep voice is back lie on Settle Up the Road. My apologies but this feels like the throw away track on this record.
Slow: The plodding beat and a downbeat as dour as breaths that are hard to take. It feels incredibly sad and mysterious and feels like a tapestry for a thousand gray sad movies.

Final take: SWOLL is a collection of dense and trippy songs fused with emotions and lovely melodies. The vox and instrumentation almost feel as one as they are glued together in a haze of sonic grit. Dreamy stuff that push retro buttons in your brain.
Robb Donker

SWOLL drops on March 9, 2018 on Blight Records 
(the label has threatened to cut my balls off and kidnap my first born if I share most of the tracks but I can share one....... so enjoy

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