This album narrowly edges out their brilliant ‘…Well?’ as the best Swell album and is perched comfortably in the 10 Best of the Abyss. I’ve heard people compare Swell to the Velvet Underground and sonically they’re kinda close, except that Swell has better songs and a singer who can sing.
I still can’t believe Swell wasn’t better received commercially during the early 90’s alternative boom, what with their sound being quite ‘alternative’ and smoky in all the best possible ways. David Freel’s intimately compelling baritone slacker drone weaves melodies effortlessly through the alternately electric and acoustic atmospheres the band creates. His is a voice that represents, with all due respect, how Lou Reed might sound if he sang on key.
“(I Know) The Trip” is probably my favorite of this batch of songs, as well as being my second favorite song the group has done (second only to “At Long Last” from ‘…Well?’). Freel’s airy sound and melancholy sense of humor is on full display here, especially on tracks like “Throw The Wine,” “Fuck Even Flow,” “At Lennie’s” and “Bridgette, You Love Me.”
Man, when I listen to this disc I can just close my eyes and feel the sand and ocean breeze of a southern California sunset…much like on drummer Sean Kirkpatrick’s cool paintings.
Rating: 5 out of 5