The Swellers - Running Out Of Places To Go
Release Date: October 16, 2012
Record Label: Independently Released
I had the privilege of going to Fest 11 again this year, and really no matter what goes down during Fest, it never fails to end up being the best weekend of the year. The great part about Fest is that you get the opportunity to see a lot of bands you have never seen Ė and a lot of bands that you might never get to see again. Despite that, sometimes you canít resist watching certain groups that you may have seen several times already.
Iíve lost count of how many times Iíve watched The Swellers perform Ė Iíd say Iím in the 7-9 range by now Ė but the bandís set at Fest this weekend was the best Iíve seen them play. They played an ideal setlist, including a fair shake of material from My Everest and Ups and Downsizing, and delivered the choicest cuts from their most recent LP, Good For Me. I thought it was appropriate that The Swellers played their best set that Iíve witnessed, because it turns out they just put out the best release of their career.
The Running Out of Places To Go EP, released independently now that the band has cut ties with Fueled By Ramen, is right on par with the Ups and Downsizing full-length, and continues the force of momentum that begun with the release of the two-song Vehicle City Blues 7". Itís tough to compare a five-song EP like this one to a heavyweight LP like Ups and Downsizing, but considering the crossroads The Swellers have arrived at, Iíd argue that this EP is the band's most important release to date.
Unchartered territory comes with an independent release, and delivering on this EP shows fans old and new that this group is still firmly belongs in the conversation about who the best pop-punk acts are in todayís community. Opener "Hands" demonstrates more or less the midpoint of Ups and Downsizing and Good For Me, and itís a sweet sound. There is a powerful omnipresent drumbeat from Jono Diener while the guitars bleed the Ď90s alternative tones we heard in songs like "The Best I Ever Had." The gang vocals are a high point as well, and Iíll never complain about a timely Nick Diener guitar solo Ė the track is perfectly built.
"Making Waves" will be the most appealing track for older fans of The Swellers, with a chorus that easily gets stuck in your head and is even easier to belt out yourself. Diener wails, "So thanks a lot / ĎCause Iím making waves and youíre not / Iím done taking bad advice if thatís fine by you / Fine by you." Relatable lyrics with catchy melodies and interesting guitar work combine to make the formula The Swellers have toyed with and finally perfected.
"Bad For Me" and the slower, dynamic title track show us a band that is finding its groove at a crucial time in its career. The drums build up during the bridge of that title track while Nick Diener repeats, "I miss my bed / But I canít remember how it feels compared to yours or any other / But thank you for letting me into your home / I was running out of places to go." Weíre listening to a band that is improving its songwriting with every release. The kinks have been worked out. This is now a group of seasoned veterans, becoming masters of their craft, no longer featuring the growing pains we hear from bands in this genre as they evolve. The Swellers are here to stay, record label or not, and with their past two releases combined, theyíve put out seven of the best tracks in their catalog. This band is making the music that weíll remember them by, and I still have a hunch that their best work is ahead of them.
I personally think The Swellers are one of the best melodic punk bands around atm. Useless ID is good but they sound a lot different than they used to and well my personal favorite NUFAN (eats me up inside every time). I think The Swellers have a lot of potential and really have such a solid sound. It is not overly complex but incredibly enjoyable and each song is distinguished by lyrics.