Saturday, May 23, 2009

Swelter - Songs Of Distance

It’s always a glorious eulogical incident when you stumble a’most blindly in love with something you figured you’d despise for being paltry example of indie-whingery. Such is the case with this Dutch americana group – not the old Seattle grungers - (should really have known better with the usual prevalence of excellence issued forth by Corazong for our company) and their bleary red-wine-dead-eyed country plainsongs for the wronged. With supporting organ and violins atop guitars and wreathed in an air of Peter Perrett minus the haughty junked-up disinterest, these Songs Of Distance detail the painful slide into departure when it’s all in slow motion but there’s little power you can exercise to cool the flow (The Strain We’re Under, We Both Know, You’re In The Last Frame). Taking the No Depression tag of to it's literal meaning these eleven songs steadfastly refuse to lapse into morose despondency, or, worse, whimpering, but convey the real desolation of heartache as few have or can. More heartwarming than harrowing, you sense songs rippling toward you from a more beautiful stream of melancholic conscience akin to The Jayhawks dolorous and grace-dappled Tomorrow The Green Grass, particularly Saddest Meal – don’t play this near whiskey, you’ll be crawling under the table and the couch though you will still stagger up play it again - and Still Not Won. An epiphany that passes pastures of the soaring solace of Morrissey at his best, Dave Kusworth’s Alan-a-Dave faded fairytales (whose voice vocalist Bart Drost shares keening comparisons to) even those Elbow laddies, I imagine. Unsettling, reassuring, potentially upsetting, but wondrous nevertheless.
Stu Gibson

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