Losers & Sluts
First up in this column of craziness, is the freaking dynamite second CD by the two man collective known as Swift Ships. Now, I missed their first disc altogether but Postman Sal dropped this baby off on my desk a good several months ago. Like most D.I.Y. discs, I poked and prodded it a few times with a stick, just to make sure it wasn't still alive then I let it ferment for a while off to the side of my desk to let it get good and ripe while I finished other projects. Actually (sorry guys) it sat for quite a while. Which was my mistake. An odds and sods assortment of intended home produced demos, Losers and Sluts is a brilliant demonstration of D.I.Y. alt rock. Riding a neo-funk, post punk, soul groove with a rootsy heart all played over loop based material, Swift Ships go all over the rock spectrum on this baby. And it's all good. 'I Wasn't Born to Be in Love,' bops out first on the back of a chugging bass and angelic guitar tone courtesy of the main music man, Scott Loving. Admittedly, Ben Shanaberger's vocals took a bit of getting used to at first; so apathetic and near monotonal that it seems they had to be pulled against his will out of his throat. But by the second song, 'Shiny Earrings,' I began to see the perfect balance of Ben's disaffected delivery with Lovings explorations in post-punk funk and guitar wizardry. This song rooted itself into my brain like the feeders of an ancient redwood. 'Spring Fever,' brings on a wah'ed out guitar tone over a crunching, funky ass bottom end, while 'All That's Past,' percolates so effortlessly in it's own blissed out world of grooviness it comes off like a lost The Suburbs classic. And it just keeps on getting better. 'Flirting With Disaster,' is such a beautifully executed splurge of rock/funk it coulda come from Gnarls Barkley, complete with a searing guitar breakdown. 'High On the Weekend,' rides a dangerous, old school soul/funk vibe reminiscent of Bill Whithers's 'Who is He and What is He to You,' while 'Daddy's Little Baby,' booms out lost in it's own blues-infected vibe, honkering some mighty guitar licks. Actually, there's strong guitar work throughout, and the vocals are dynamite when combined with Lovings backings. My only complaint, and it's a big one, is that the boys lock onto a freaking fantastic bass heavy groove with the track 'Paralyzed,' featuring Ben's most emotive vocals, and they ride the song out after, what, 30 seconds? Come on guys, you gotta revisit that baby! That single bitch aside, you gotta hand it to the guys on this one. The production is solid and the sound great. If you dig slightly raw, slightly rootsy alt-rock with the deep grooves of some post-punk funk, this ones a keeper. Review from the Ripple Effect.