Ten years is a long time in the music industry. Genres can change and evolve, styles can come and go, and with their upcoming release, Eskimo, Louden Swain are showing the world just how much difference a decade can make. From the opening bars of the first track, it’s clear that this isn’t an album that’s going to demand your attention. But, as the sound begins to flood through the speakers, you’ll be compelled to hear what the record has to offer; a series of songs made by a group with a clear passion for what they do.
Like The Heart Goes is an outstanding album opener, drawing the listeners into the here and now of the record before easing into the title track, Eskimo, with its witty lyrics and swinging beats. Carpool Lane tones down the tempo, telling an acoustic tale of life as a new parent. CA Nation takes a more anthemic turn. Rock refrains and empowering lyrics combine with infectious backing vocals to create the albums first single. Cigarette follows, showcasing a more alternative side to Louden Swain. Different layers of sound entwine and combine to paint shades of melody underneath vigorous vocals.
Mamma’s Jam signals a new sound for the band. Country-rock-infused riffs and refrains power the piece through its core. Infectious vocals swing and slide across the melody and rhythms, before fading out to Worlds Collide, a ballad constructed from steady beats and multiple sound layers, building ever upwards towards instrumental solos that present the musicians at their best. She Waits is the next track, its soulful vocals and acoustic melody will no doubt strum at many a heartstring. January takes a more typical rock format, as its distorted guitars and reverberating vocals insist that you should be dancing. Gamma Ray picks up on this queue; toe tapping beats and a captivating melody integrate with witty lyrics on the world collapsing that are all too memorable.
One of the finer points of this album is its production. The penultimate tracks are significant examples of this. Be Me uses different layers to create a tapestry of melody and rhythm which is drawn from throughout the song. Wave steadily builds up a crescendo of sound to crashing choruses and impressive instrument solos, engulfing all around them, much as the title suggests. Separated from the previous tracks by seven seconds of silence, Past Perfect is the track that closes the album. Raw vocals drift over the acoustic melody, guiding listeners gently towards the end of the track, and towards the dying notes of the record.
This is an album about acceptance. From the “let it beat” refrain of the album opener, through the empowering “be who you want to be” of CA Nation, Eskimo is a release from a band that are comfortable in their own skin. If this is a sign of things to come, then the future for this group is looking bigger and brighter than ever.
Eskimo will be available for purchase and download from the 17th January, 2012.