Twentieth Century (Skep Wax)
Pointedly not one of your ‘corporate indie bands’, to quote one of their earliest songs, for a group with grown-up real-life responsibilities Swansea Sound have fired out releases with some rapidity in the three years since forming. Their 2021 debut album Live At The Rum Puncheon – not actually a live album, much as only one member actually hails from Swansea – is built on with Twentieth Century, its full-length successor.
Established members Hue Williams – the Swansea connection, ex of The Pooh Sticks – Amelia Fletcher, Rob Pursey and Ian Button are now joined by Bob Collins, like his bandmates possessing strong indie-pop credentials (members’ inter-band connections go back as far as the late 1980s in various combinations). The resulting quintet flesh out things a touch on the production front while sticking largely to a programme of brisk jangle with moments of country twang and distorted rockouts.
Existing Swansea Sound fans will know the lyrics, reflections on modern malaises and music-fan minutiae past and present, are as much a part of the appeal as the music, and Twentieth Century contains microfictive depth here.
words NOEL GARDNER