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.
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.
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.
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.
‘bored again’ Igor
/dec 1st 2003/