Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Review: Swingin' Utters - "Brand New Lungs" 7-inch
The Swingin’ Utters are back on the attack with their first new studio material since 2003’s Dead Flowers, Bottles, Bluegrass, and Bones. It may be coming a little late, and it may not be the full-length I was promised (LP is due out this fall), but it’s yet another great addition to the already overflowing Utters catalog.
The three songs that comprise the Brand New Lungs seven-inch are all essentially entrenched in the same hybrid of street punk, power-pop, and pogo elements. While it’s not unusual for the Swingin’ Utters to mix things up and move in a different direction, it is somewhat atypical of recent times that they cluster songs of a similar sound together as they've done here.
The EP opens with the title track, a bouncy, darting punk number that proclaims “I’m gonna find myself some brand new lungs / Because these ones are black and tired / I’ll use them well, and mind my health / Think nothing but pure thoughts." The track hits its stride with a gorgeous hamonic bridge that emerges from an uneasy rest and reaches soaring heights before kicking back into the chorus. As usual, Johnny “Peebucks” Bonnel’s penchant for street punk poetry is exceedingly evident: “And the drunks all cheat and lie / While the sober ones all cry / They feel obliged to apologize / Beg for forgiveness, make it feel alright.”
The real gem of the set, though, is the second track, “Lepers, Thieves, and Whores.” It’s not only catchiest of the bunch in terms of melody, but has a warm and feel-good guitar solo sandwiched between the EP’s best lyrics: “Keep your eyes glued to the ground / And tuck your wings behind ya because the wind can be so strong / Grab your things and mind you all the kids can be so wrong.”
The last track, “Forward to Fun” is a couple notches lower than the first two in terms of what the Utters are capable of, but it’s still pretty good. The melody and guitars are extremely repetitive, but it creates a kind of hypnotic effect that one rarely encounters in traditional punk rock.
Although at only three tracks it may be a small taste of what the Swingin’ Utters have to offer, most fans have been in withdrawal so long that it’s still extremely satisfying. While the songs on Brand New Lungs represent just a tiny portion of their stylistic arsenal, it’s safe to say that the Swingin’ Utters are back.