The Swellers
Ups and Downsizing


4.5
superb

Review

by fund it USER (7 Reviews)
November 8th, 2009 | 23 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: As if it were possible, a substantial improvement from 2007's My Everest. The Swellers prove to have written some of the most honest punk-influenced pop songs of the new millennium.

It seems it was only yesterday I was adding this band to my growing list of friends on my then-band's MySpace profile. This "yesterday" I refer to is in fact the early months of 2006; a time when this Flint, Michigan, quartet just released their debut EP on Search And Rescue Records, entitled The Beginning Of The End Again. Not one for wasting my time listening to every band that crossed my path in my MySpace friend request bin, I took a shot in the damn dark and listened to a few tracks they had up. 2 songs, and I was immediately hooked. A tune called "The Inside" started finding its way on my PC speakers every night. I never thought that a virtually no-name band could impress me this much at first listen. No one I knew had heard of them yet. They were my own; the best-kept secret.

Today, they prove to have written some of the most honest punk-influenced pop songs of the new millennium, in a style very reminiscent to 90's skate punk legends, Lagwagon, Jawbreaker, and Millencolin. Think a more sober NoFX. By the time their sophomore full-length, Ups And Downsizing, was released in September 2009, the fellows from Flint had the tremendous honor of being signed to Fueled By Ramen. Now, my best-kept secrets were rubbing elbows with the scene's biggest names, like labelmates Cobra Starship and The Academy Is..., as well as being the opening act for pop/punk juggernauts Paramore on their "brand new eyes" tour, sporting mad props from scene princess, Hayley Williams.

With props certainly deserved, The Swellers have always stayed true to their punk roots. Listening to "Ups", you're immediately hooked by persistently-driving drumming, brilliant guitar work, and soaring vocal harmonies from lead-singer/rhythm-guitarist Nick Diener, surely one of the more underrated punk songwriters of the decade. The opening track, 2009, is pounding and beautiful. A song about experiences on New Years 08-09, it sets a great precedent for the rest of the album. Incredibly catchy songs like this are similar to tracks like Welcome Back Riders, Fire Away, and Ups And Downsizing.

While there aren't any face-melting Dragonforce-esque guitar solos (RE: "The Flood", My Everest) on this record, there are still blisteringly fast songs present that hold true to their first batch of songs from their first EP. Dirt and The Iron are perfect sequels to past Swellers gems like Tunnel Vision, By A Thread, and Vehicle City. To contrast the lightning-quick barn-burners, you'll find beautiful ballads that will solidify The Swellers as pop/punk masterminds. The first of which found is a track called Feet First. Hooks ahoy, my friends. The lyrics seem to grow organically out of Nick's mouth, as he sings:

"Watching the waves crashing beneath me/Blue and silver, chaotic and surreal/And I can't describe the view from up here/Because maybe I won't be able to tell you what I see/Don't waste your tears on me/Don't stop now, just carry on, carry on, carry on"

Heart-stopping lyrics from an often-overlooked band. The other ballad is called Stars, a long lullaby with even more meaningful lyrics to take in.

Please don't hesitate to set aside 39 minutes and take a listen to Ups And Downsizing front to back. It's well worth a lot of listens.

Recommended Listens:
2009
Fire Away
Welcome Back Riders
Feet First
The Iron

4.5/5. As if it were possible, a substantial improvement from 2007's My Everest.



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user ratings (141)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
whatshisname (4.5)
The Swellers manage to make one of the best records of 2009, and one of the best Pop-Punk records of...

ConsiderPhlebas (3.5)
Simple, heartfelt punk-rock...


Comments:Add a Comment 
KieranVandRakim
November 9th 2009


332 Comments


good review, my everest was awesome so i'll be checking this out

Kiran
Emeritus
November 9th 2009


6002 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

my everest was solid, this is another album on my long, long to-get list..

Digging: Harry Nilsson - Nilsson Schmilsson

SkankinJake
December 28th 2009


88 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Really enjoying this album. Reminds me alot of No Use For a Name.

ConsiderPhlebas
June 17th 2010


6157 Comments


Surprised to see this has received so little attention.

BallsToTheWall
June 22nd 2010


44805 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Owns so hard.

Digging: Pink Turns Blue - If Two Worlds Kiss

swittla
July 13th 2010


2 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

there are so many different mixes of punk and pop and rock together, and i think the swellers nail it 100%. it is like the perfect percentage of each

Satellite
July 13th 2010


20826 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I've seen these guys live more than any other band since they're from my neck of the woods, and they always fucking kill it. Nick and Jonathan are awesome dudes, too.

BUT I will say that I was mildly disappointed by this album. Fire Away and Sleeper FTW, though.

tkxxx7
July 24th 2010


6153 Comments


I'm from Detroit, so I felt obligated to give these guys a listen. I suppose they're not too bad, but I think I'm a little too tired of the pop-punk genre to truly appreciate what they've done

TomLobban
April 9th 2011


29 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album is really good. I'm not a fan of Pop-punk or whatever you want to call it and to be honest I avoid bands like Paramore, You me at Six, My Chemical Romance and Blink-182 like the plague but this album is actually really good... not just some mediocre pop album with guitars.


VagueIllusions
May 7th 2011


4 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I would have totally loved this album if Stars weren't on it. Somehow I can't listen to ballads. Still, all the others songs are awesome.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 8th 2011


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Moving to Fueled By Ramen for their major label debut was just the tonic for talented Michigan quartet The Swellers. Despite a slicker production sheen being evident on 'Ups and Downsizing', the punk rockers lose none of their hard-hitting passion & rich, blue-collar songwriting. While the guitars have been toned down a little, Nick Diener's vocals continue to improve, and the band get the mix between paying tribute to their influences & forging out their own legacy, just right. Their most consistent, cohesive & varied LP to date, means this is also The Swellers best album yet. Recommended Tracks: Welcome Back Riders, Dirt, Ups and Downsizing & 2009.

nylertickel2
July 27th 2011


174 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Band and album are awesome

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
December 3rd 2011


7026 Comments


These guys sound like a more punk version of Fireworks. I can dig.

Lenix
November 20th 2012


793 Comments


everest is much better than this

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
January 22nd 2013


20077 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Very solid band

Digging: Circa Survive - Descensus

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
January 22nd 2013


20077 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I was gonna say andcas u better like this!

Sanders
January 27th 2013


2361 Comments


love this

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
April 8th 2013


20077 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

why doesn't anybody talk about this band? and andcas you don't count.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
April 8th 2013


20077 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

lol they coming out with a new album anytime soon?

Hep Kat
April 8th 2013


15356 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

they just did i think

edit: or they are idk



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