The Swellers
Good For Me


4.0
excellent

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
June 11th, 2011 | 106 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Swellers will not be labeled... And they can still sell ice to eskimos.

Even those who pay no attention as to which record label a band is aligned to, raised an eyebrow when Michigan punk rockers The Swellers signed with Fueled By Ramen in 2009. It seemed a match made in hell, with the quartet more likely to don greased-up overalls than the neon shirts usually associated with the label. The fear would be that the band would trade their blue collar tales of sub-zero temperatures in hometown Flint, for auto-tuned complaints of how the Gainesville humidity upset their fringes. Initial fears were allayed with their third LP ‘Ups and Downsizing’ containing the same rich, detailed storytelling that proved so potent on the band’s earlier recordings. And while The Swellers continue to naturally evolve in a more accessible direction, it is pleasing to report that they have not been hanging around with Gabe and Travie, if follow-up ‘Good For Me’ is any indication.

While it is far from a return to the blazing solos of their skate-punk upbringing, it takes all of about ten seconds to realize that this is still The Swellers that loyal and ardent fans have grown to love. It comes in the form of a glorious guitar line which snakes its way through superb opener ‘Runaways’, and reminds of those infectious riffs which The Gaslight Anthem have made their own of late. Similarly, while successors ‘Inside My Head’ and ‘The Damage’ may not include mile-a-minute drumming, the accomplished rhythm section of Jonathan Diener & Anto Boros are as tight and driving as they have ever been, a fact which may owe something to the stellar production courtesy of Bill Stevenson & Jason Livermore. If anything, the quartet could have afforded to cut loose just once – especially with the way the still strong ‘Nothing More to Me’ begins - since the album’s closing tracks do begin to lean towards a languid mid-tempo pacing, which becomes over-reliant on that aforementioned storytelling.

Where The Swellers truly excel however, is in their meticulously detailed and articulate songwriting, where each minuscule nuance lends an engaging sense of either connection or believability. The obligatory reference to their hometown’s frigid weather on the Alkaline Trio like ‘Parkview’ almost makes you want to head for the snow, while you can just picture lead vocalist Nick Diener thumping his chest when he sings “It’s not the friends you thought you had, or your location on a map, it’s what you feel in here” on the acoustically accentuated ‘Better Things’. Basically, the sincere, authentic and much-improved front-man could sell ice to eskimos, so when he states “I’m on the line for you” on the slightly ill-fitting fuzzy alt-rocker ‘On the Line’, one gets the feeling that the number he hands out will not begin with 555. It all comes together near perfectly on the energetic and catchy lead single ‘The Best I Ever Had’, where the engrossing nostalgic theme that runs throughout ‘Good For Me’, hits home on multiple personal levels.

As with any band worth their salt, what The Swellers have done on their fourth full-length release is develop their craft in a way which has not significantly altered their sound. The instrumental refinements and more universal lyrical themes may rub some long-time fans the wrong way, but to say ‘Good For Me’ is anything other than a strong, heartfelt and consistent punk-rock album would be misleading. Many are likely to want to re-label The Swellers to pop-punk or alt-rock, but the truth is that the band will not be labelled... Fittingly, Nick Diener suggests "Forget about the things they say, there's nothing more to me than what you see". This may not necessarily be the best album of The Swellers' career, but 'Good For Me' is one which very much consolidates their future. Furthermore, it could well lead to their magnum opus if “I’m on my way to better things” is in reality a mission statement of sorts, while the title of the closing track could be a telling sign that The Swellers are just ‘Warming Up’.

“If everyone else heard this, they wouldn’t be so sad”

Recommended Tracks: The Best I Ever Had, Runaways, Inside My Head & Better Things.



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user ratings (149)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
crazyblinddude
June 11th 2011


3389 Comments


Nice review Davey! I'm definitely gonna check this out now.

Just wondering. How much do like this album relative to their last?

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
June 11th 2011


50500 Comments


My sister likes them.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 11th 2011


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks cbd. I think this is a touch below 'Ups and Downsizing', but the difference is miniscule.

Your sister has good taste Trebor.

HBFS
June 11th 2011


1262 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nice, i like this as much as you do.

"Many are likely to want to re-label The Swellers to pop-punk or alt-rock"

..what were they before? This is pop-punk to me tbh

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
June 11th 2011


50500 Comments


My sister is a hipster.

crazyblinddude
June 11th 2011


3389 Comments


Sweet deal. Gonna download it sometime tonight then.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 11th 2011


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Rowdy, see the sentence before that. I might concede punk-pop, but not pop-punk. Either way, The Swellers will not be labeled. LOL.

Tyrael
June 11th 2011


20893 Comments


Sounds cool Davey, great review as always.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 11th 2011


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Thomas. Seeing you listen to about 20 albums a day, I'm sure you'll get around to this soon enough.

Acanthus
June 11th 2011


9543 Comments


Cool review, maybe I'll get bored with the current digs and go give this a try sometime.

Digging: The Knife - Deep Cuts

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
June 11th 2011


7357 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I feel like I should give this a go.

bungy
June 11th 2011


8843 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice Davey. Pretty stoked for this

SkankinJake
June 11th 2011


88 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

After a few listens through, I still don't think this quite lives up to 'Ups and Downsizing'. It seems too safe, with too many mid paced rock numbers. Still a great album though. The songwriting is still stellar, it's just the predictable nature of the musicianship that irks me a little bit.

iFghtffyrdmns
June 11th 2011


7047 Comments


think you could add a few more to the rec'd by reviewer section? it'd be helpful.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 11th 2011


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Sounds way too much like their last album to me."
Which was also excellent.

Thanks Acanthus. Ditto bundy.

Sounds like you were a little disappointed Ali. Sounds like you also may have rated it after 1 listen?

They are all fair enough comments Jake... I can't really disagree with any of them to some extent. They are similar comments to what a few made about 'American Slang'. These types of albums - where songwriting is so important - do really come down to a personal connection a lot of the times.

I'll try & think of some more recos for you dmns. I'm making up for most others who leave the section blank.

SkankinJake
June 12th 2011


88 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's kind of ironic though. I loved '59 Sound', and I also loved 'Ups and Downsizing' (Even though I do think 'My Everest' was better, I rated it a 5), but how I felt about this album on first listen was exactly how I felt about 'American Slang'. It seemed like there was just no stand out tracks. What's weird though, is that in the past few weeks 'American Slang' has grown on me BIG TIME. The songwriting is just amazing. It kind of makes me sad that it took so long to grow on me, and that it took a bad break up and then reconciling with that ex for the subject matter to hit home.

I found myself listening to Bring it On, then Old Haunts, and lastly The Spirit of Jazz in that order, again and again and again. Then I started listening to that album all the way through and I realized how great it actually was. I hope I eventually feel the same way about this album, as I am a HUGE Swellers fan.

I did love Runaways though, especially the cut time "breakdown" at the end.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 12th 2011


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well said... & I'm in no way surprised. I think way too many people wrote off 'American Slang' too early. While it's still not as good as '59', I still find myself humming many a guitar line from it, plus some lyrics (mainly from the songs you mentioned too).

'The Best I Ever Had' is clear a standout to me, but 'Runaways' rules too. Even the 3 years mentioned in 'The Best I Ever had' mean something to me... Totally flukey.

I'm certain 'Better Things' will get some crap by people on here, but that's one of those songs that could really mean a fair bit to people who have just experienced something . Ditto with a few others on here & I'd definitely recommend this is the type of album that will age well because of that.

Satellite
June 12th 2011


20822 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i can only find shitty 128 bit rate versions of this :/

i should probably just buy it because these guys are super nice and i'm pretty sure they still know me by my name :3

HBFS
June 12th 2011


1262 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The 128 bit rate sounds pretty good (for a 128)
but yeah when a v0 comes out I'm sure it will make this even better to listen to

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
June 12th 2011


50500 Comments


My sister met these guys.



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