Photography: Neil Zlozower
OFFICIAL HOME PAGE: http://www.swirltheband.com/
Swirl’s recent video for their single “Rise Up” highlights all of the qualities that brought the band to the attention of Ditch Day’s producers. The popular movie highlights three songs from the Southern California four piece and represents some of their biggest exposure yet. It follows on the heels of their self-titled release and the songs selected for inclusion on the film soundtrack represent the quality of that release quite well. The band consists of lead singer Alfred Ramirez, guitarist Duane “DT” Jones”, bassist Shane Carlson, and drummer Brian “Bam Bam” Jones. Their vivid and muscular hard rock veers into outright metal at certain points, but Swirl never goes in for the mindless bash and thud sound so common to lesser bands in this genre. Their music shows off a lot of flash, but never overdoes it and focus on delivering coherent musical performances full of surprising melodic flashes.
“Spell”, however, is probably the closest moment of outright hard rock swagger. Ramirez makes great use of some classic rock clichés and his charismatic vocal gives those moments a fresh sheen other singers wouldn’t be able to conjure. Duane Jones is another marquee element in the band’s success. It’s obvious that he can handle the fundamental requirements of the instrument, but the fact he’s able to drop in lightning bolt flashes of inspiration without ever upsetting the shape and focus of the song is a testament to two things – his talent and the songwriting acumen that goes into their songwriting. The aforementioned “Rise Up” shows how Swirl can be rightly considered a band with lyrical content that cuts a little deeper than most. They show off a clinic, both lyrically and musically, with this song. Ramirez brings the exhortation in the lyric to memorable life without ever laying it on too thick. There’s a more “metal” edge in this song than the first number, but Swirl once again proves that working with this style never causes them to lose their musicality.
The final song of the three, “We Are Alive”, seems to come from a more personal place, but it shares the same desire to rile the crowd as the previous song. There’s an equal measure of metal influences coming through in this song, but the skill level of the players involved reaches far beyond the usual ken of these kind of musicians. Once again, however, everything they do has a reason. Brian “Bam Bam” Jones turns in a particularly memorable performance on this track. The three songs appearing on the Ditch Day soundtrack are certain to positively impact anyone who gets to hear them while setting the band up nicely for their next step from here. Swirl has been through a number of changes in membership and direction since its first formation, but they have long since settled on what they want to do and are pursuing their musical dreams with the same passions that fires their songs.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Written by Frank McClure