Time away might be what breakup band Swearin’ needed
Swearin’ embodies their screw-it mentality with their newest album Fall Into the Sun, as they draw pictures with their words and tell stories through resounding rock. Guitarist and vocalist duo Allison Crutchfield and Kyle Gilbride fill the sound with atonal melodies and arrogant guitar, while bassist Amanda Bartley and drummer Jeff Bolt dictate the rhythm. Fall Into the Sun sounds more like an ode to the past–the music has not changed and neither have they.
The band broke up in 2015 because of a failed romantic relationship between Crutchfield and Gilbride, but Swearin’ reunited to collectively reach closure on their sound with this cohesive album.
Swearin’ like to think their sound has changed, but “Big Change” fulfills the typical indie rock image of the band. Dwelling in how things used to be, Crutchfield sings “[We] found each other by chance through rock n roll music / Clenched fist, eyes wild / Scream over the records, you artfully compiled.” The lead vocals switch to Gilbride as he takes a new perspective on the path of his past and the direction of the band’s future in “Dogpile.” Whining guitar mimics Gilbride’s apathetic lyrics, as the song almost directly contradicts Crutchfield’s analytically nostalgic lyrics in the previous song.
Crutchfield hops back on the mic in “Grow Into a Ghost” and initiates this musical mosh pit where instruments writhe like dangerous beasts. Swearin’ wants listeners to see their vision for this song, as the music video contains visuals that can only be seen through red cellophane lenses. Grab your 3D glasses, and take a time-generous look: a skull melts down the side of the bass drum while flying bats and naked eyes frame the band.
“Margaret” plays with instrumental rock as the bass and guitar weave together humming different melodies. Crutchfield’s naked vulnerability hides behind her confident exterior as she begins the song “I never feel small / I don’t feel any way at all.” Almost in response, co-lead Gilbride steals the mic in “Stabilize” with an atonal punk speaking tone, building into a melodious yell. He pauses for a moment to allow Crutchfield to fill the gaps in his story. She reenters on “Untitled (LA)” with bouncing vocals, a staccato tempo and a pop tinge in her voice. Between stringy guitar and a classic rock drum beat, the lyrics barely peek through like this half-hearted, reluctant apology.
Gilbride wastes no time in conversation with Crutchfield as he tells her “love is just a piece of the puzzle now.” Like wading through water, “Treading” feels like a stagnant yet inspirational telling of an emotionally exhausting relationship. Momentum builds as “Oil and Water” drifts into “Smoke or Steam” with a catchy tune and vocals that dance between octaves.
“Anyway” sounds beautifully raw, as if candidly recorded with a collective desire to capture spontaneous musicality. Echoed vocals carry the song with acoustic strumming in the background–this track is essential to the album. The shared lead between exes Crutchfield and Gilbride tells two beautifully raw stories from altering perspectives. Fall Into the Sun feels more like closure to a relationship than the start of something new for the band–and you can clearly hear this in their music. “Future Hell” closes out the album with the same alternative rock we expect from Swearin’ on a reunion album, but it neglects the opportunity to try something new. Swearin’ could have been more experimental with this album, but as their first album back together since 2015, music fans are happy to see it, and listeners are happy to hear it.