The new album from Swingrowers comes out on February 23rd, and at Libro Musica, we were lucky enough to get our ears on it in advance so we could tell you all about how great it is. Outsidein roils and boils with sumptuous melodies that swirl in the electronic beats, coming out with something that is political, cultural, and ultimately, swinging.
The first track on Outsidein also happens to be the first single, “No Strings Attached,” a romp through a topsy-turvy world parallel to our own, but with a greater awareness of the mass mind control attempts of people who dress in drab colors. Chomsky would approve of this track, and Amy Goodman would say “Hm, interesting.” The only difference between the Swingrowers’ world and our own is everyone in theirs is dancing. “No Strings Attached” makes me wonder what this world would be like if typical ambulation were closer to a dance.
Following “NSA” is “Follow Me,” which begins like a surreal adventure under the influence of jet lag, gradually coming into focus with a horn that weaves its own rich melody like plaid. As if in response to the beatific brass, Loredana sings of the possibility for adventure, as long as you’re willing. She makes it sound as easy as a surfing instructor to a blubber-coated landlubber on vacation. “Selfie Face” opens with dreamy guitar notes escalating, escalating, like a road trip into the mountains. The lyrics are much needed in an era where people do incomprehensible things because they think it will make their reality look impossibly perfect on a screen. Swingrowers remind the listener that real life does not unfold on a screen, with a break that blends the message with the sound in an electronic love poem to the vibrating world.
The beat is then elevated with platform bass and quick-stepping horns in “My Mood,” a track that shimmers with the bright promise of the future. The song is funky and badass at once, blending seemingly clashing flavors like the rare fusion chef who doesn’t use the word “fusion” in a haphazard way. “My Mood” is a reminder that your life – your mood, your style, your path – are all up to you, like sides at a barbecue restaurant. The beat slows momentarily for “Healing Dance,” with horns that get it swinging. Then, “Butterfly” heats up the air with a well-written lyrical saga of a singular, individual metamorphic insect. The drums nudge and hint at the metaphor and Loredana’s vocals are hot fudge on the electronic ice cream beat.
Like raindrops on a windshield, “Tit for Tat” builds up a melody into rivulets running steadily across the breadth of my auditory attention. Then, out of nowhere, the Swingrowers, like glassblowers swirling sound in fire, blow it into something even bigger with a deep beat that drives at something more primal than any electronica can conjure from my neurocircuitry. Strings tickle my cochlea and Loredana’s voice tempts me deeper into the beat. I melt. “Here to Stay” hypnotizes with a bass that cocoons you in something nameless but irresistible regardless. Then, sliding like a freed soul into a raucous rockabilly drag show, “Jukebox” blows through any stop signs, demonstrating to the listener, once again, that life is what you make it. Horns create space and Loredana’s vocals take on a rock star edge without losing any of their smoothness.
Then, like a squeegee clearing the grime from the glass of your consciousness, “Just Do It” starts with a fresh beat, spreading like a smile across the face of someone tasting Madagascar chocolate for the first time. The song concentrates the Swingrowers’ message to the listener in a jamming confection before dissolving into a euphoric dance beat perfect for an energetic meditation on what these electronic apostles of rhythm and joyful movement are truly saying.
Outsidein is a compendium of tracks to get your body moving and the crankshaft between your ears turning. Swingrowers has once again delivered the electroswing they are known for, but in a sonic package that is no less meaningful or punchy than their previous works. They do not repeat themselves, but rather, build upon previous productions to continue their conversation with the music lovers of the world, commenting, exclaiming, and ellipsing… They leave space for a reply that dances on the listener’s cerebral meat and comes out best in moving feet.