Brash, energetic and full of their own confidence, A. Swayze & the Ghosts are ready to take the guitar rock world by storm – one three minute song at a time. Straight out of the Apple Isle, the four piece debut here with the blistering Paid Salvation and aim to mark their place on the music landscape.
At a time where Australian guitar bands of varying ilk are becoming more and more popular, A. Swayze & the Ghosts are doing their best to separate themselves from the pack. Noting that they fully intend on using the pedestal their music is creating to put their best foot forward and say something worthwhile, the band are entirely confident in their own ability and fully believe in what they’re putting out there.
Paid Salvation is an album that was born out of sweaty pubs. Harking back to a time where making a living from music was seemingly a lot easier than it is today. It’s an album best listened to turned up to 11, windows down, as you obliterate the speakers your cousin with connections installed in the shit box car you bought as an 18 year old. Frontman Andrew Swayze pulls no punches and the garage punk brashness of the band comes to the forefront from the get-go.
The driving “It’s Not Alright” opens the album with a relentless riff, before the strained vocals of Swayze leads the way throughout its three minute run. Followed up with the instant “Suddenly”, it touches on gender inequality, with the track sung from a non-male perspective. It’s pretty noticeable from these early stages that the band is more than willing to discuss a variety of issues; some of which other bands may choose to stay away from for fear of alienating some potential industry figureheads.
In true millennial fashion, the band wanders into the realm of social media commentary, with “Connect to Consume” touches on society’s need to constantly be online, spreading our fake lives for even faker friends. Working with producer Dean Tuza, the band set out to produce an album that captures the raw authenticity of a band hoping to cut a figure separate from the other aforementioned garage and punk bands saturating the Australian music scene.
The titular “Paid Salvation” is manic and frantic throughout. The backing vocal chants come into their own over the closing minute in an almost hypnotic nature. The album’s peaks are on singles “Mess of Me” and “Cancer”. The most melodic and completely different of songs on the album. “Mess of Me” is a toned down yet welcome change up on an album that until this point was full throttle and at times becoming a little monotonous. Slowing the tempo over its bridge, “Mess of Me” is a genuinely fun jaunt that won’t be out of place as a set closer on a mid afternoon set during a summer festival. “Cancer” borrows a little from The Hives, and would not have been out of place on an earlier FIDLAR record. It’s slinky, smart and cheeky from start to finish, with the bass line the real hero moment.
An album of relentlessly scattered guitar that at times does begin to sound a little homogenous. But, Paid Salvation is a welcome debut from a band that fully well knows what they want to say and goes about delivering it the only way they know how. A. Swayze & the Ghosts have used their debut to announce their full intentions to the music world, and go a fair way in achieving these intentions.
THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
A. Swayze & The Ghosts’ Paid Salvation is out Friday 18 September. Pre-order the album HERE.
Header Photo by Rick Clifford