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Tourmaline - The Swindle Album Cover

Tourmaline - The Swindle

Reviewed by
9.5
Tourmaline - The Swindle
Record Label: Brontosaurus Records
Release Date: August 12, 2008
As a fundamental piece of how to never become stale, evolution is crucial in the art world. Whether you are an actor, musician or street performer, limiting yourself to the same role, sound or "swindle" is the biggest fault you can put upon yourself.

Verona, New Jersey's Tourmaline were an up-and-coming band just a few short years ago, on the cusp on the rising pop-punk sound all the young kids were playing. After the band released a four-song EP on Absolutepunk.net, they seemingly disappeared. Four years later, through all the maturation and difficult times, The Swindle proves it was well-worth all the bullshit. The album is not only one of 2008's biggest and most welcome surprises, it's a solid execution in the art of honing your craft and sound, forging ahead like a musical version of Lewis & Clark. Vocalist Matt Rauch, who opened up his own recording studio late last year, went through painful throat surgery that only amplifies his former Ace Enders-like style from before (dry and lazy, but somewhat charming to calm and collect - yet packs a massively aggressive punch). Rauch took painkillers to make it through recording his vocals the pain was so excruciating, and it pays off: his manic vocal spasms range from lazy Springsteen ("Yesterday Always Forgets") to soulful ("A.M.") to Dylan-esque ("Shelter From the Downpour") to chaotic & frantic ("The Swindle").

The best part of this record is not just the transformation Tourmaline has gone through - it's the fact that it's a multi-faceted, classically-minded rock & roll record. Rauch's vocals are transplendent and posess a schizophrenic personality that tricks us into believing that, at first, we'll be listening to a gentle indie record ("Afraid of the Same") then moving into the big, fuzzy, bass-driven title track. The Swindle also benefits from its recording method, done in a way similar to that of the Beatles, implementing techniques that give off new sounds to each instrument so it's simply not just an ordinary record fiddled with on ProTools. Vocals were recorded via tape machine, which give Rauch a unique, old-school sound. This is a genuinely real record in all sense of the word - when it comes to making a rock record that contains emotion and sentiment, Tourmaline have managed to encompass the perfect symmetry between balance and chaos that keeps The Swindle tight, focused and gigantic in a very natural way.

Everyone plays a part on this release - and it shows: Justin Niemiec's groovy bass rolls along like a soft wave of thunder across each song's horizon; Corey Zaloom's piano/organ combo gives each song an ominous quality, a haunting energy that runs rampant during each track; Ryan Barades, when let loose, is quite the guitarist - however, he isn't given enough chances to show us his skills, instead painting many of the songs with an array of feedback; Max Rauch provides enough drum styles to make everything sound varied and strays as far from repetitiveness as possible. Recording the drums in the vocal booth, amplifying them even more, pays off for the full, incredibly potent sound they present. Whenever a record arrives where each band member plays a pivotal role in its process, it makes said record that much better. Sometimes one instrument stands out more than the others (ex. overshadowing vocal work vs. sub-par musicianship); here, Tourmaline has managed to keep each players' integrity intact and has given them an ample amount of work to do - although Barades' guitar playing could be more upfront than it is, as it is obvious he has talent.

Taking everything into account -- how the record was conceived, what the band went through to record it (especially Racuh's throat) and their transformation -- it gives The Swindle all the more reason to be a contender for one of 2008's best albums, as it shows a developed sense of self and is an immaculate collection of songs that each have distinct identities, refusing to bleed together. There's an ironic coincidence to The Swindle, as well: each song sounds like it's from 1969 yet discusses current events like pollution ("The Swindle"), the media ("Afraid of the Same"), government control ("Prepare, Plan, Stay Informed") and making sense of the world before death ("Yesterday Always Forgets"). This is a Vietnam War-era album for the new millennium; it's a tightly constructed piece of hard work & dedication, never sacrificing itself to fit in with the current scene.

The only real swindle Tourmaline could pull over any avid music fan is having them miss out on a record that just might be 2008's most creative, most varied and most cohesive piece of art.

In the anthemic closer, "Come Unity," Rauch sings like a one-man gospel, refraining "Raise your hands / A symbol for peace / In unity / Our dreams we'll achieve." Never has wiser words been spoken so eloquently not only for the future of music and art, but for the world itself.

Recommended if You LikeBands coming up with a new sound & style; Clapton, Springsteen, Harrison; Mute Math; My Morning Jacket; hard fucking work and dedication to your art
Choice Cuts"The Swindle," "Levity" and "Come Unity"


Track Listing1. Afraid of the Same
2. The Swindle
3. Comet Sky
4. A.M.
5. Levity
6. Prepare, Plan, Stay Informed
7. Sullivan & Bleecker
8. Shelter From the Downpour
9. Yesterday Always Forgets
10. Come Unity
Band MembersMatt Rauch: lead vocals/guitar
Justin Niemiec: bass
Ryan Baredes: lead guitar
Max Rauch: drums
Corey Zaloom: piano/keyboards


Online VitalsOfficial Site
PurchaseMerch Store
This review is a user submitted review from Chris Fallon. You can see all of Chris Fallon's submitted reviews here.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 40
06:36 PM on 09/09/08
#2
hockeyguitar99
Prison Strength
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This sounds really, really good.
06:48 PM on 09/09/08
#3
flo teezy
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fuckin good shit!
07:12 PM on 09/09/08
#4
Adrian Villagomez
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I liked it on first listen. I'll form a much fuller opinion in a few weeks, but wow, seems like you looooove this, Chris.
07:16 PM on 09/09/08
#5
Chris Fallon
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I liked it on first listen. I'll form a much fuller opinion in a few weeks, but wow, seems like you looooove this, Chris.
After talking to Matt about it for a long time, soaking it all in ... I've really come to appreciate all the work that went into it and how it turned out. There's a lot to take in, so I recommend many listens - however, I think they went out and made a record people will be able to appreciate many years down the road. It doesn't sound like much of anything out now, and for anyone who loves classically-oriented rock as much as I do, it should be a sure thing.
07:20 PM on 09/09/08
#6
Adrian Villagomez
The Sword the Anvil the Stone
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After talking to Matt about it for a long time, soaking it all in ... I've really come to appreciate all the work that went into it and how it turned out. There's a lot to take in, so I recommend many listens - however, I think they went out and made a record people will be able to appreciate many years down the road. It doesn't sound like much of anything out now, and for anyone who loves classically-oriented rock as much as I do, it should be a sure thing.
I've barely listened to it, but I already have an idea of the "classically-oriented rock" you're talking about. I'm glad you really like it, because now I'm excited to dive into it.

And I talked to Matt a bit - seems like a good dude.
07:33 PM on 09/09/08
#7
Chris Fallon
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I've barely listened to it, but I already have an idea of the "classically-oriented rock" you're talking about. I'm glad you really like it, because now I'm excited to dive into it.

And I talked to Matt a bit - seems like a good dude.
He is. He's very passionate about this release - and rightfully so. I hope people give it a listen, because I believe it's an album a lot of members would certainly enjoy.
07:52 PM on 09/09/08
#8
bitterhalo
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when does this come out??
08:07 PM on 09/09/08
#9
Chris Fallon
Boom.
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when does this come out??
It is out now. Click on the "Merch Store" link to find out how you can pick it up!
08:25 PM on 09/09/08
MoneyMaker
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I never expected this out of them, my record of the year so far.
08:49 PM on 09/09/08
bitterhalo
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holy crap, that's awesoem!
09:54 PM on 09/09/08
Jonathan Lally
Ain't nobody got time for that.
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Matt is a good dude. This record is fantastic.. Chris - IM me so you can hear Facing New York, I think you'll really dig.
06:50 AM on 09/10/08
foisol
EST 1986
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So it was them that did the Where Did Rock and Roll Go thing. LOL
09:11 AM on 09/10/08
djsclaus
www.brandonmarshall.net
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I'll definitely be getting this

tell me, is it worth spending the 5 bucks for the digital booklet?
I wanna support this band and everything because it is such an amazing record, but i was just wondering if it's worth it?
09:18 AM on 09/10/08
TFC88
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i think its worth it to support the band. i mean, they are offering up the record for free. $5 for an album is still 1/2 the price of everyplace else.
i bought the vinyl option and it comes with the booklet too. you get all the lyrics and original sheets and credits and stuff. its pretty cool.

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