Whenever You're Ready
/beggars banquet; 2003/




more info:

Sam Phillips is dead. Johnny Cash too. Johnny Rotten wants to play in Bagdad to support the population. There are definitely things that you cannot rely on anymore. Unfortunately, this assertion seems to concern one of the good 90’s indie bands too.

Our occasional reviewer Unemployed Fred – who became Underpaid Fred lately – does not like to sell cds even when he does not particularly enjoy them. He just sold Whenever You’re Ready. I’m inclined to regard it as an omen.

Yet, drummer Sean Kirkpatrick’s return added to the front cover à la Too Many Days Without Thinking let us forebode a good album but let’s admit that we were mistaken. Monte Vallier is still wandering elsewhere and he’s probably what’s missing. Swell’s touch, crafting songs with details and making them come to the fore, is still playing its part but David Freel seems to have lost momentum, concerning both his song writing (‘Sunny sun’, ‘Better than oil’, ‘Love you all’) and the songs’ duration. ‘Always Everything’ and ‘In the Morning’ are unfortunately long to unfurl for instance. The major flaw of this new album is its duration.

It nevertheless contains two great songs: ‘Next to Nothing’ and ‘California Arizona’. The first one is heady, a bit psychedelic, full of flourishes, its vocals are indolent and make you imagine a desperate, melancholy rural America: ‘I was going to be just fine and I was going to be alright’ sings Freel. You somehow feel that this song would have reached a higher height and would have been catchier if it had been recorded with a thicker sound. ‘California Arizona’ sounds as if it had been composed for Everybody Wants to Know which was not that bad but just stepped away from Swell’s spirit. Only Swell die-hard fans could disagree with the fact that Whenever You’re Ready is another disillusion in 2003 releases.

-Blacklisted ‘bored again’ Igor

/dec 1st 2003/