Swearin' – Fall into the Sun
Swearin' reunite after a short time away with their best album to date. But this time they approach their usual razor-sharp riffs and pop-punk melodies with a new sense of confidence and maturity
Near the end of the first Swearin' album in five years, Fall into the Sun, the buzzing razor guitars and pop-punk melodies melt away. The penultimate track Anyway is a plaintive and hushed lullaby about moving on. Moving on from relationships, moving on from your bandmates, moving on from where you grew up. It’s an outlier on the album stylistically – most of this reunion record is riff-heavy, full of thunderous drumming, while this track borders on twee. But thematically it’s a summing up: a wistful look at the past, knowing you’ve grown up and you’re better where you are now.
Five years is a long time in music, but it feels like only a blink since Swearin’ were last kicking around (their last show was actually 2015). But since the seeming dissolution of Allison Crutchfield and Kyle Gilbride songwriting partnership, Crutchfield has released her own well-received solo album and, along with her sister Katie (Waxahatchee), they're now the twin monarchs of the DIY indie rock scene they made famous.
Crutchfield and bandmates fall right back into it here, cranking out hooks like they are running out. But as drummer Jeff Bolt has said, here they embrace the passage of time, looking back on what came before with a fondness, but also with an acceptance that things change. In that sense, Fall Into the Sun, while bursting with bounce and youthfulness, is a maturation, tweaking the aesthetic that brought them a loyal band of cult followers using a long-developed confidence.
Songs like Anyway – 'I picked up and I went away / I left West Philly / I saw things clearly' – and Big Change – 'The best years of our lives were spent in some stranger's basement' – are testament to that. It’s weighty and filled with personal experience, but still instilled with the fun and shambles that pop punk should be. What once could have been viewed as carelessness is now a careful recklessness; more often than not the melodies lean sweeter without the instrumentation losing any of its ferocity.
It all culminates in one of the catchiest guitar-led songs of the year in Future Hell, Gilbride’s stream of consciousness, dream-like look at the shape of things to come. Crutchfield, along with her sister, are at the centre of some of the best rock music right now. Let’s hope Swearin’ stick around this time.
Listen to: Future Hell, Dogpile, Grow Into a Ghost