Post Punk crew Swear Jar celebrates the release of its new long-player Cuss on Phratry Records by giving away CDs at the door Saturday with the price of admission ($5, or $8 for those ages 18-20).
Though the press release for Cuss states “most people won’t like it,” fans of old-school, underground, independent Rock and Punk will immediately get what Swear Jar is doing. While most of the songs have a spastic, wild-eyed energy, tracks like “Lonely” possess the murky, sludgy grind of later Black Flag and the sung/shouted vocals on songs like “Old Shake” and “Narcissist Artist” are reminiscent of peak Jesus Lizard and early Butthole Surfers.
The band’s rhythm section plays a prominent role — the ropy, sometimes distorted bass lines drive everything, while the creative, convulsive drums underline and accentuate the inherent chaos the trio effortless concocts on nearly every track.
That sturdy anchor and the songs’ unexpected, roundabout structures (akin, in approach, to the hectic, unpredictable roads the Minutemen paved decades ago) allow the guitars to dynamically weave in and out of the grooves, shooting sparks of gnarly ingenuity.
While the tracks on Cuss might have benefited from a little more tightness (The Jesus Lizard’s maniacal sonic bedlam worked so well because of the members’ flawless musicianship), the occasional sloppiness is a part of Swear Jar’s appeal, giving the album an endearing “live” quality and accentuating the feeling of frenzied spontaneity. In an age where studio gloss and overwrought perfectionism seems the norm (even for so-called “Punk” bands), that makes Cuss a welcome slab of Rock & Roll spirit and Punk Rock pandemonium.
Find out more about the band at www.myspace.com/swearjarband.
Pincushion and Mala In Se open Saturday's show at the Southgate House Parlour. Get show and club details here.