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Swingin' Utters - Fistful of Hollow

Pauls_War   (5 reviews)

Posted: 01/20/2015 | Comments: 0 | Rate:

Swingin Utters have been releasing solid material since their 1995 debut Streets of San Francisco. The few following releases sounded much like their Bay Area contemporaries while invoking the blue collar attitudes and guitar riffs reminiscent of early English Oi. As the years and albums stacked up, it grew impossible to pigeonhole the band into one subgenre of punk. They embraced elements of Americana, folk, Celtic and pub rock which would appear peppered throughout their albums of the 1990's-2000's. These elements never seemed contrived, and even after a tour with The Dropkick Murphys, they never went "full leprechaun" as some (I) suspected they would. The acoustic and folk-punk tracks complemented the fast, loud, and straightforward songs of their albums very well and did not come off as merely a novelty. After taking seven years off to focus on their families and other projects, they returned to the studio leaving behind the Celtic rock influences in favor of elements of mod Brit-rock added to their classic sound.

Fistful of Hollow follows this change in their sound and returns to faster and simpler songwriting. Standard punk strumming is complemented with clean and jangly guitar leads reminiscent of The Smiths (The album title an obvious nod to their classic album). There are sparse elements of early rock and roll with guitar riffs that would sound at home on a Buddy Holly or Roy Orbison record. Johnny "Peebucks" Bonnel's vocals are sharply spat with catchy sing-a-long choruses throughout the album. It is essentially a street-punk record with clean and crisp production, but has a few great slower and folkier tracks as intermissions and to close out the album.

The 15 tracks on Fistful of Hollow fly by before the listener knows it and warrants many repeated listens. The songs all sound similar enough as an album should, but are different enough to give a sense of variety. This is a classic 924 Gilman St band that definitely sounds like where they come from while maintaining complete originality from the multitude of punk bands, successful or otherwise, from the San Francisco Bay Area.

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