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Swearin' - Fall Into The Sun (Album Review)

Thursday, 01 November 2018 Written by Laura Johnson

Space can be good, whether it’s allowing us to take a break from people or helping intrigue to blossom in the moments left unfilled in a piece of music. Left to our own devices, we are able to take stock, gain perspective and ultimately grow. It feels like Swearin’, who split in 2015 when guitarists and vocalists Allison Crutchfield and Kyle Gilbride ended their romantic and musical relationship, would back that sentiment.

Aside from bassist Keith Spencer, who has left the fold altogether, each member of Swearin’ used the break to hone their craft. Crutchfield moved to Los Angeles, released her debut solo album, ‘Tourist In This Town’ and toured with her sister Katie’s band Waxahatchee, while Gilbride stayed in Philadelphia to build a recording studio. Drummer Jeff Bolt continued running his label Stupid Bag and playing with Radiator Hospital.

After reconvening backstage at a Waxahatchee show, and subsequently accepting an invite to open for Superchunk, attention turned to the unlikely prospect of new music. The result is ‘Fall into the Sun’, which Crutchfield describes as the “adult Swearin’ album” and a distinct progression from their early output.

Following the release of ‘Tourist In This Town’, Crutchfield walked into the studio with a newfound confidence in the production process, which in turn facilitated better communication with Gilbride, who previously took the reins in that regard.

The result is a band come into focus, with sharpened edges benefiting from hindsight. Swearin’ still deal in heavily-fuzzed guitars and indie-rock influenced by DIY sensibilities, but things have shifted up a gear. The disjointed, lo-fi sound that was once a staple has evolved to become more refined, taking influence from Crutchfield’s polished solo bow.

Grow Into A Ghost, the record’s first single, feels like the kind of track the band have always been building towards. It’s something of a triumph, with Crutchfield taking the vocal lead and painting a vivid picture through her ability to a make matter-of-fact narrative sound poetic. Gilbride, meanwhile, fronts Dogpile, the only song to have survived from their abandoned third album. “By pure dumb luck I’ve gotten where I’m going,” he sings.

“The best years of our lives were spent in some stranger’s basement,” Crutchfield reminisces on Big Change, giving a nostalgic nod to how the band came up that’s returned in kind by the album’s sleeve image. It was shot on the roof of Gilbride’s parents’ building, where Swearin’ tracked guitar and vocals for their 2012 debut.

Elsewhere you’ve got Oil and Water, a love song Crutchfield calls “batshit sweet” and a break up track in Anyway, which gives us a change of pace with acoustic guitar and double-tracked vocals. Paired with the dynamic shifts provided by Crutchfield and Gilbride’s routine of sharing vocal duties, the album is as diverse as it is deft. With ‘Fall Into The Sun’ Swearin’ have taken a big step forward while ensuring they do not veer too far from the path they hacked clear years ago.

Swearin' Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Tue January 29 2019 - LONDON Moth Club
Wed January 30 2019 - BRIGHTON Green Door Store
Thu January 31 2019 - MANCHESTER YES
Fri February 01 2019 - GLASGOW Nice n Sleazy
Sat February 02 2019 - LEEDS Brudenell Social Club
Sun February 03 2019 - BRISTOL Crofters Rights

Click here to compare & buy Swearin Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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