On the Record: Walking on sunshine

I was standing next to the keg at a party in late June. There was a boy wearing a Ren and Stimpy shirt. Of course I took it upon myself to comment on his excellent choice of apparel. I didn’t know that three months later I would have his band’s album sitting on my desk in front of me, waiting to be reviewed.

That day in June was the first and last time I met Brian Langan of the SW!MS, in person at least. Now that I have a face to go with the music, I feel almost obligated to write something really great about the album. But, I just don’t think my writing can do justice to the band, members of which I will more likely than not encounter by the keg at another party.

Not many good things come from Scranton, Penn. but the SW!MS may be the exception. I tried to think of a comparable band but I just keep thinking of words, not acts. So, if you will, I compare them to bouncy, pop, sincere rock. It really sounds like that feeling you get on a mild-tempered day, with the sun shining through the trees as you drive down the street in your car with all of the windows rolled down.

“The Noid” is the standout track on the album. It boasts a catchy chorus and has just enough energy to suck you in without going over the top into the land of desperate attempts. Track four, “Clash at Demonhead,” comes in at a close second. It is a little bit “harder” but not heavy by any standards. The only song I have a problem with is the second track, “Take The Monorail,” because the music reminds me of a mix between “Ballroom Blitz” and that “Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation” song from the 60s. While neither are bad songs to imitate, I can’t get past the sound-a-like, so I skip over that track on the SW!MS album.

As for aesthetics, the artwork is great. How could I not like a CD covered in trippy pink power flowers on a chocolate brown background? It sets the right mood for the music. Hallucinogenics are not required to enjoy it, but the artwork invokes the lofty, free vibe of the music, with or without chemical enhancement.

To find out more about the SW!MS you can visit its Web site, theswims.com or its recording studio’s page, brainwav.com.