Swearin’ - Surfing Strange

Allison Crutchfield and co glide over waves at record height on this second full-length.

Label: Wichita

Rating:

Swearin”s gut-punch of an approach might give nods to countless bands and ages - 90s grunge is a big staple of their sound - but there aren’t many sporting Allison Crutchfield and co’s eventual knockout blow. 

It’s there in opener ‘Dust in the Gold Sack”s bent guitar notes, torn to the point where they’re holding on for dear life. It’s also present in the deranged ‘Glare of the Sun’, which clashes a stoner-approved aesthetic with darker mid-sections that wouldn’t come out of a standard guitar-amp set-up. Swearin’ go that further step. When they’re done dishing out curses, they’ll throw out another harsh blow for good luck. It’s this that takes ‘Surfing Strange’ past contemporaries; beyond the band’s recent self titled-debut, even.

When Swearin’ go gritty (‘Unwanted Place’), they don’t do so with a half measure. When they attempt to spill out the odd emotion or two (‘Loretta’s Flowers’), they end up projecting soul, guts - the whole shebang. It’s all tied together by this ‘Strange’ tag. Be it unhinged escapism or some old fashioned melodrama, there’s a goofiness to Swearin”s impressive strut that ends up becoming endearing, leaves them standing out in a cluttered crowd. 

Allison doesn’t just put her subject under the spotlight. She’ll tell them she wants ‘to see what your insides look like.’ Weirdos rarely come off this clear-headed. Oddity is the ethos - in part this lends to guitar-led triumphs; occasionally they’ll instead land on something less musically direct but nonetheless forthright in its intentions. It doesn’t matter which way they go - ‘Surfing Strange’ has the band gliding over waves at record height, with barely a single hiccup.