Album full of powerhouse punk rock fun
Delivering a solid dose of punk rock, The Swaggerlies release their latest record, The Last of the One and Onlys. The album features blasting percussion and guitar mixed with demanding vocal performances.
This Seattle-based group drops this new record after their live release back in 2020 titled The Swaggerlies Live at Darrell’s Tavern!, featuring live versions of songs debuted on this record. The group pulls out all the stops showing their most rough and rugged side as well as their softer side throughout The Last of the One and Onlys. Making up the band are Jeromy Lenaord (bass/backing vocals), Rob Olsen (drums), Captain Ron Stohr (lead guitar/mandolin/lap steel/backing vocals) and Earle Thunders (lead vocals/guitar), who have released their latest record independently outside of any record label.
The album kicks off with a surge of power in “Pretty Good at Being Bad.” The track is a shocking mix of percussion and electric guitar that drives from beginning to end. The instrumentation sounds and feels very fine-tuned and dialed in, yet the vocals seem under-edited and a bit out of place.
“Disco Cocaine” is a single off the record that punches right from the start, however quickly settles, allowing the vocals to come out on top. The hook comes in with soft energy and delicious smooth leads. The second half holds strong with just the drums and vocals supporting each other as the guitar takes a break.
The title track, “The Last of the One and Onlys,” is a soft, almost country ballad. This track has a Springsteen, old-school feel to it. Though it is on the softer side, fear not, as there is a lovely source of power behind the percussion and strumming electric guitar. This may be the one track where the vocals feel like they are mixed within the instrumentation; however, the editing seems to be lacking. Not sure if this was on purpose, but as the vocals reach peak loudness, they become scratchy and grain, taking away from the listening experience.
Closing out the record, “Letter to a Friend (Hope You Got Free)” brings out the deep strumming acoustic guitar that plays right to the heart. The band closes the album on a heartfelt ballad that stands apart from the rest of the record, putting to rest the high gain and high energy for some somber twangy electric and background piano.
As a whole, the album is a lot of fun; though, vocally, it does have some moments that lack possibly within the style or simply the way it is edited. Musically, The Last of the One and Onlys is beautifully crafted and truly is worth the listen.