From some angles, guitar music in the twenty-first century is an endless loop of appropriation and regurgitation, with only the rarest deviation into something genuinely new. Swearin’ do not represent that deviation, but despite this, ‘Surfing Strange’ is a fun walk into the plaid-shirted riff forest of the early nineties. It’s music for a sunshine summer; a band to fall in love to. ‘Watered Down’ has a bassline Kim Deal might have stitched together while sitting stoned on a Boston couch in 1989, while on ‘Echo Locate’ Kyle Gilbride manages to sound more like Billy Corgan than the man himself.

For the most part this record is an avalanche of cascading guitars, fuzzed-up melodies and brutally heavy riffage, but there are one or two moments of otherness in the softly reflective ‘Loretta’s Flowers’ and the hazily stoned ‘Melanoma’. But it’s the facsimile factor that holds ‘Surfing Strange’ back from being a great album, because this really is a sound born of contrivance rather than of searing creativity.


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