Released to the rear of last year but a record all DIY indie pop/punk fans should engage their turntables and speakers with, Live at the Rum Puncheonis the debut album from UK outfit Swansea Sound. It is a collection of songs which with a mischievous but deliberately cutting breath and an equally alluring jangle pokes fun and disapproval at the world and the industry it keenly takes to task; a record which left ears and pleasure greedily alive.
Swansea Sound sees the reuniting of the Pooh Sticks’ Hue Williams with his singing partner in that band Amelia Fletcher (ex- Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, The Catenary Wires) with its line-up completed by with guitarist/bassist Rob Pursey (The Catenary Wires, also ex-Heavenly, The Catenary Wires) and drummer Ian Button (Wreckless Eric’s live collaborator, The Catenary Wires). Taking its name from a much loved South Wales radio station, it is a project which emerged in lockdown embracing frustrations of the time and similarly social and political issues in a sound which brings indie pop and punk together in one engagingly clamorous and melodically raucous affair.
Unsurprisingly maybe, there is no escaping a touch of a Pooh Sticks hue to the band’s music and just as alluring essences in many ways hinting at DIY bred punk bands such as Television Personalities and Swell Maps but just as inevitably Williams and co have sprung a sound which revels and rebels in uniqueness and uncontaminated enterprise as swiftly proven and cemented with album opener Rock N Roll Void.
A track casting an eye and contemplation of its author’s journey in music and a passion of, it opens with an immediate Buzzcocks-esque melodic hook within an equally nostalgia romancing jangle as Williams reminisces. The track was instant addiction; the memory stoking, former passions stirring incitement of Pursey and Button irresistible as too Fletcher’s backing vocal tempting.
Next up, I Sold My Soul On Ebay springs its contemplation on this digital age of presentation where streams which only make the sites money from artist’s enterprise with rock ‘n’ roll dissonance bound in punk reproval. Again the vocal unity of Williams and Fletcher was participation drawing as musically the track entangled ears and imagination in its hook loaded enterprise.
The romance musing of I’m Ok When You’re Around similarly had attention greedily hooked, its pop inclinations infesting instincts to roar and body to swing with the guest vocals of The Crystal Furs adding further enticement alongside the keys of Fay Hallam. An irresistible proving pop song with a feral breath amid lo fi majesty, it is followed by The Pooh Sticks, an equally addictive track regaling the triumph that Williams and Fletcher graced over two decades back; a homage which as the former stated “No-one else was going to do it.”
With already pleasure rattling exploits marking out Live at the Rum Puncheon, individuality and nostalgia inspired enterprise merged in solely individual exploits, the release adds pop seduction to its tempting. Let It Happen is a smooch on the ear and hug of the senses but with that already expected atypical Swansea Sound touch and character of songwriting it was soon embroiled in eighties new wave poppiness.
The joyous canter of Je Ne Sais Quoi effortlessly had the body bouncing next, its presence a folk punk/ indie pop captivation while Pasadena and Indies Of The World in turn captivated with their respective psych shimmering serenade and ’77 punk meets nineties indie pop carousing. All three though called on the imagination with an emotive almost old school heart and the inventive craft that nestles firmly in the now as endorsed by Corporate Indie Band and its particular rumination on music and big business within. It is a song which rather than ignited our instincts in a flash wormed under the skin over time with matching success.
Freedom Of Speech provides another keenly favourite moment, its lyrical bite and gripping musical shuffle swift addiction against which Angry Girl casts its rebellious indie punk with old school tempting for an equally provocative captivation.
Completed by the song Swansea Sound and its evocative requiem for the lost radio station, Live at the Rum Puncheon proved one beguiling and increasingly compelling encounter; our greediness for it hoping to be further fed by many more exploits with Swansea Sound.
Live at the Rum Puncheon is out now via Skep Wax (Vinyl, CD, Bandcamp) and Lavender Sweep (Cassette) in the UK and HHBTM (Vinyl, CD) and Austin Town Hall (Cassette) in North America with Shiny Happy Records (Cassette) serving Indonesia; it also available @ https://swanseasound.bandcamp.com
Pete RingMaster 03/02/2022
Copyright RingMaster Review