Last year, Swearin’ produced a dark horse Album of The Year candidate with their Self Titled debut. This year they’ve incorporated a new songwriter into the mix, and produced an album that multiplies both the catchy moments and weird left turns of their debut. Surfing Strange is a great second album in that it builds on the successes of the first record, while also branching out to try new things.
The vocal interplay between Allison Crutchfield and Kyle Gilbride is still a focal point, but the low in the mix vocals from bass player, and new songwriter, Keith Spencer also add a different texture to Swearin’s established sound. The guitars are still hummable, but with a little added fuzz around the edges. Songs like “Dust In The Gold Sack”, and “Young” sound like the missing link between Wavvves commercially acceptable DIY model, and honest to god DIY punks like The Measure [sa].
Surfing Strange also finds the band veering slightly away from the safer pop-punk of Swearin’ toward the more noisy and off-kilter sounds of lo-fi indie rock. This change can be seen throughout the album, but is particularly on “Glare of The Sun” and “Melanoma”. Mixing in their new influences among bursts of their reliable pop-punk, proves to be a winning strategy for Swearin’. Surfing Strange is a solid album that shows progression, and Swearin’s further understanding of their own abilities as a band.