Swearin’ is the kind of band that comes around, at best, once a decade. Thankfully for us, they’ve come around twice.
After releasing two beloved full-lengths, 2012’s Swearin’ and 2013’s Surfing Strange, the Philadelphia band quietly put things on hold. It was due, at least in part, to the band’s main songwriters, Allison Crutchfield and Kyle Gilbride, ending their romantic relationship. And though Swearin’ tried to soldier on, it became far too stressful to keep going. But after a few years apart, those bad feelings disappeared. And when the band’s three members—Crutchfield, Gilbride, and drummer Jeff Bolt—found themselves in a room again, the conversation inevitably turned back to Swearin’.
“Drunkenly, without any hesitation or inhibitions,” said Crutchfield, “we asked, ‘What would it take from each of us? What would we need to do this again? What would we want to accomplish if we decided to be a band again?’” They realized that what they all wanted was to not just play shows, but to make a new record. Before the band initially split, they’d already started writing for what would have been their third album, but instead of going back to that old material, they wanted to do something that reflected the people they’d become during those intervening years. “When a band re-forms and makes a new record that is trying to sound like the heyday of their band, it doesn’t sound genuine,” said Bolt. Before long, Crutchfield and Gilbride had a new batch of Swearin’ songs, ones that meshed with the sound they’d originally developed together but boldly pushed things forward.
The result is Fall into the Sun, a Swearin’ record that doesn’t try to obscure the passage of time but instead embraces it. “Getting older, your tastes change, and what you want to do changes,” said Bolt. Those changes, though subtle, are impactful, making Fall into the Sun what Crutchfield calls “the adult Swearin’ album.” It can be seen in songs like “Big Change,” where she says goodbye to Philly and the scene that she came up in, or in “Dogpile,” where Gilbride offers the line any aging punk can relate to: “By pure dumb luck I’ve gotten where I’m going.” Where Swearin’ used to pummel through their songs, on Fall into the Sun , they bask in what this newfound openness offers. It’s most notable on the ambling “Stabilize,” which sees the band throw their weight around in the song’s back half, offering up what’s easily the heaviest riff in the band’s catalog.
When bassist Mark Boxall heard that Standard Fare’s Emma Cooper was moving to Cambridgeshire a few years ago, he jumped on the opportunity to form Mammoth Penguins together. Drafting in Tom Barden (Pony Collaboration) on drums, the three-piece released their debut album “Hide and seek” on Fortuna Pop! in 2015 – a masterpiece of crunching guitars, pop hooks and lyrics about love, loss, moving on and getting older. They then expanded the band last year to release the concept album John Doe, before starting work on their third album, which will be released in early 2019.