New in 2020: Sawak – The Bells

I was talking to someone on the phone the other month; I said, “Rock music doesn’t excite me anymore. For a new rock release to excite me, that shit’d have to be fucking crazy” – “That’s a hot take,” the other said. Well, this release has turned me into a bit of a liar. It ‘s weird, but it’s still rock; a solid album for fans of alternative, & I like it just fine.

Maybe it’s b/c track no. 2 is called “O Captain,” but imagery of pirates keeps popping into my head when I listen to most of these tracks; it’s kind of odd. Well, the way I choose to look at it, pirates are just the punks of seafarers, so kudos to Sawak for their outlaw music. I always kinda identified as an outlaw, even though it gets more & more untrue the older I get. I had a cracked version of Spotify installed on my phone, until I decided to pay for the service – BOO!! HISS!! – I work a law-abiding 8-to-5. I’ve sobered up. Well, ummm… I’ve got news for you pal, punk is more of an aesthetic than an ethos, so I can live like a square & listen to music that reminds me of pirates for some weird reason & there’s no contradiction!!! That’s right!

The music is interesting throughout. The vocal delivery on “Rat Soup Kitchen” towards the end reminds me of Lou Reed’s Lulu as heard through the ears of someone who recognizes that Lulu is beautiful music. The album closes with the meditative “Swaminarayan”, providing a cathartic, theological finish to an album whose musical patterns twist around like solving a Rubik’s Cube.

“The Bells” releases March 13th. Cop it via Bandcamp here.

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