Swingin' Utters - Poorly Formed  (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Swingin' Utters

Poorly Formed (2013)

Fat Wreck Chords

The Swingin' Utters are back after two years with a brand new record and a slight lineup change. Since 2011's Here, Under Protest Spike Slawson, also of Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, has left the band and has been replaced by Mike Peck covering bass duties. Thankfully, the band haven't suffered at all due to the change and if anything, they sound much tighter than on the previous record, thus making Poorly Formed another solid release from the band.

One of the biggest changes in their overall sound is the increase of backup vocals from Jack Dalrymple, formerly of Dead to Me and formerly (and currently, again) One Man Army. This is something that I am surprised we didn't see more of on the last record, considering most would agree that more vocals from Jack Dalrymple on your record is a good thing. Sadly, Jack doesn't get any time in the spotlight on Poorly Formed, outside of said backups. Also noticeable is the guitar work on the record seems to have more influence from Jack as at times, it feels like I am listening to One Man Army with Peebus singing instead of Jack. Aside from these two more noticeable changes everything has stayed about the same with the band's sound, so if you aren't a fan at this point chances are you won't be won over now.

Though I do want it to be known that this record isn't just "more of the same" as some the best songs the band have written are on here. To put it simply, it ain't broken so the Utters didn't need to fix it. It is also worth noting that the band's folk and country songs have improved greatly to the point where I feel it wouldn't be a bad idea for them to put out a folk album–or at the very least an EP. A few of the more stand out tracks on the album have to be the introductory "Librarians are Hiding Something," the title track, "Sevita Ring" and "The Fake Rat of Dave Navarro."

From beginning to end, the Swingin' Utters deliver a record that doesn't ever let up on the energy or disappoint the listener showcasing why this band has survived almost three decades of making music. One can only hope that this band continue to age as gracefully as they have so far and have at least another decades' worth of music to release.