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THE SWARM – Red Paint On The Odessa Steps (Fight Me)

Posted: December 23rd, 2005, by Stuart Fowkes

Make no mistake, this is nasty stuff. Trenchant, massively-distorted basslines, an entire Luftwaffe squadron of hissing guitars, sing-song Liars-style vocal snippets and The Locust’s misanthropic approach to melody – and that’s just in opening track ‘War Course’. ‘The Night The Rope Broke’ is relentlessly bleak, with some David Yow-style vocal acrobatics weighing in against an almost-industrial backdrop. ‘Rising up Through Your Chest’ complements its menacing coda perfectly by landing a gunship laden with old 70s synths square on top of it, and there are all manner of pleasing digital belches and skwerks punctuating the altogether more analogue aggression elsewhere. Perhaps best of the lot, if you’ve the stomach for it, is the sludgy magnum opus ‘The Last Friend Left Alive’, which finds the middle ground between The Birthday Party’s ostentatiousness and the bullish antagonism of Will Haven and celebrates its achievement by hammering the point home for ten minutes.

Sure, there are times when The Swarm lean a little heavily on their influences (viz. The Jesus Lizard on ‘Shacked Up With The Flies’), but they get away with it, through bloody-minded belligerence if nothing else. Not only are you guaranteed an absolute hammer blow of hardcore barbarism, but there’s measured intelligence waiting underneath all the bombast, each track slipping out of your grasp with a deft sidestep just when you think you’ve got a handle on it. Nasty stuff then, but excellent with it.

Who knows what they’re putting in the water up in Derby, but the fellas at Fight Me Records, who have already put out Fixit Kid and You Judas! alongside The Swarm this year, are starting to put together a very impressive roster. More please!

The Swarm
Fight Me Records

Stuart Fowkes

Stuart is possibly one of the tallest people you have ever seen. He towers above your puny skyscrapers like Rodan on steroids, his blonde spikes puncturing the atmosphe re like crazed, gelled knives. In real life he is part of the Sunnyvale Noise Sub-element pop outfit, and writes for other websites as well as this one - the cheeky blighter. He favours the noisier end of the musical spectrum, with a fervour which would seem to indicate a dodgy heavy metal past.


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