Tony Sly’s influence is vastly underrated. Just ask The Swellers, who spend much of Ups and Downsizing (as they did with 2007’s My Everest), doing their post-melodicore take on mid-to-late 90s punk which was primarily dominated by Fat Wreck’s ever growing roster of similarity. At the time, older punks seemed to deride the overly melodic nature of the new sound as a product of the generation. Funny thing though, in 2009 this sound has in a sense become the throwback, the aging and forbidden. But damn if in a scene on the verge of collapse under the weight of shittyness brought on by the Cobra Starship/Brokencyde/3Oh!3-ness of it all that a band like the Swellers could sound so damn good; like No Use For a Name, Pulley and Ten Foot Pole all rolled into one glorious band.
Perhaps they sound this great because they’re surrounded by some of the most average music in the business (here’s looking at you Fueled By Ramen!), which really isn’t their fault. They’ve been around since the early 00’s and are getting their fair shake now with the Atlantic Records machine behind them. Good news for people who actually like good music. “Fire Away”, “2009”, and “Ups And Downsizing” are some of the best you’ll hear this year, and while not as breakneck as My Everest, Ups and Downsizing is a peach amongst some truly rotten fruit. Anyone who was into this back in the 1990s, will see that ten years after NUFAN released More Betterness!, The Swellers have released an almost identical record. And God bless ’em. (Fueled By Ramen)