SWTHRT - Compact Disc (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Compact Disc (2011)


Fresh from the ashes of my beloved Museum Mouth comes SWTHRT, band of a thousand pronunciations. Perhaps it means "Sweaty Hurts," which I think is a sex thing. Maybe it's an initialism for "South West Tammy Has Ripe Tomatoes," which I think might also be a sex thing.

Or maybe it's "Sweatshirt" and they just left out the second "s" to keep their logo even-lettered, but that seems too obvious.

Having done the whole punk rock-by-way-of-Lemuria sound with Museum Mouth, guitarist/vocalist/drummer/bassist Karl Kuehn has now moved on to post-punk with SWTHRT's Compact Disc, aided by keyboardist Becca High. Some of Museum Mouth's elements carry over, like the grainy, dry production style, but generally speaking, this is a whole new sound for Kuehn. Here, he cultivates some serious Joy Division/Cure circa Faith/Seventeen Seconds worship.

"Good Omens" opens the record with a sparse bassline à la "A Forest" before High brings in a bright keyboard line. The result is akin to a more lo-fi Pains of Being Pure at Heart, although with less adenoidal vocals. At only 26 minutes in length, Compact Disc doesn't have much room for expanding beyond the formula "Good Omens" sets, although there are glimmers of shoegaze in tunes like "Maggie Valley".

The problem with Compact Disc is that it draws from a style that's pretty popular right now. Yeah, that means it should appeal to a wider fanbase than maybe Museum Mouth ever achieved, but it also means that there are more bands playing this kind of music. SWTHRT is good, but they don't surpass their obvious inspirations. Throw in a frustrating band name, and you get something that, while solid, is also a little forgettable.