Sounds Of Swami

Sounds Of Swami

Sounds Of Swami ‘Sounds Of Swami’ (TNS Records)
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Sounds of Swami formed in late 2005 in Keighley, West Yorkshire, despite this it’s taken until now for the release of this their debut album; they haven’t been idle in the meantime their two previous EP’s, Vent (2008) and Halcyon Days (2009) garnering much critical acclaim and in particular praise for the bands progressive approach to punk, and earning comparisons with the likes of Fugazi and At The Drive-In, all of which ensured the bands inclusion upon countless international compilations and gigs the length and breadth of both the UK and Europe.

I knew little of the band, and my limited research suggested that they play “post hardcore progressive punk” – now I like going into decent record shops, places like Probe in Liverpool or Rough Trade West in London; each store sub divides its offerings into genres – Punk, Reggae, Jazz, Krautrock etc, however, I don’t think either has a “post hardcore progressive punk” section or at this point it remains an undiscovered niche…so, none the wiser the answer would be to play the album.

Opener ‘Brass Tax’ immediately defines quite where Sounds Of Swami are; a maelstrom of pummelling breaks, time changes and break-neck speed impassioned vocals railing against the inadequacies of the capitalist system; ‘Grump’ adopts a more rhythmic approach, the lyrics delivered in more measured tones, by comparison ‘In Retrospect’ could be considered melodic, though these are certainly dark melodies; Sounds Of Swami are not afraid to take risks, the instrumental ‘Mani Puilte’ clearly demonstrates the bands own justifiable belief in their abilities; the entire album is awash wash with ideas and an obvious desire to challenge their audience; the musical textures that run through the entire album are what elevates Sound Of Swami, and repeat listens reward you with further exposed riffs and neat guitar runs; that said ‘Surfing The Cesspool’ is a straight hardcore thrash, and the political lyrical challenge thrown down by ‘Clandestine Movements’ certainly nails this bands colours to the wall, as such the instrumental respite of ‘Trapped In The Tuac’ an eerily dark ambient passage allows you to draw breath before ‘Get Your Had Checked’ pins you to the wall…

Sounds Of Swami deserve your attention; they are not afraid to mix up genres, to challenge conceptions and for that they should be rewarded.

Track Listing:
1. Brass Tax
2. Grump
3. In Retrospect
4. Sheep
5. Mani Pulite
6. Stitched Up At The Sewing Circle
7. Surfing The Cesspool
8. Clandestine Movements
9. Trapped In The Tuac
10. Get Your Head Checked
11. Jack
12. Telepests

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Phil Newall is 47, from The Wirral - he earns his living not writing about music nor playing music...though sorely wishes he could. He was fortunate enough to see many of the first generation punk bands when they played the U18's matinee shows at Eric's, Liverpool. As an attendee at Eric's he was exposed to punk rock, dub reggae, art rock, and all manner of weirdness; as a customer at Probe Records he was variously served and scowled at by Pete Wylie and Pete Burns - he has written for Record Collector, Whisperin & Hollerin, and Spiral Scratch and wanted to write a book detailing the Liverpool punk scene; however with 'Head-On' Julian Cope beat him to it...and frankly did a much better job.


  1. Swami AKA John Reiss, is the reason I clicked on this review, and my disappointment (at it not being a collection of the coolest man on the planets many projects) notwithstanding, I’m bloody glad I gave it a listen. Nice work. Will be exploring this further. Good call Phil!


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