Swingin' Utters - Drowning in the Sea, Rising with the Sun (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Swingin' Utters

Drowning in the Sea, Rising with the Sun (2017)

Fat Wreck Chords

There are few things with less artistic merit than ‘best of’ collections. That being said, they can be pretty awesome. A good example is Swingin’ Utters’ Drowning in the Sea, Rising with the Sun. It essentially takes a band that has made a ton of great music and distills it down to 80 minutes. It collects the best songs from across many years and different record labels for our convenience. Since the band really didn’t have any ‘hits’, it focuses on fan favorites. While there’s plenty of room for healthy debate about what should or shouldn’t have been included, the record was pretty much guaranteed to be good. Great even.

Drowning/Rising is 33 songs from Swingin’ Utters’ vast catalog. From Scared (1992) to Fistful of Hollow (2014), every era of the band is covered. The tracks appear to be in no particular order, but the record has a good flow. That in itself is no small feat, but I may have done things differently. The Utters’ sound has gone through a significant evolution over the years, and it would have been interesting to hear it chronologically. Few punk bands have managed to change as dramatically without alienating their core audience. I’m sure Fat has people smarter than me making these decisions, but that’s how I probably would have done it. Does it hurt the album? Not really.

Swingin’ Utters’ street punk/oi stuff and folk punk/bluegrass stuff are both well represented. My personal favorites include “Don’t Ask Why”, “No Eager Men”, “Five Lessons Learned”, “Brand New Lungs”, “Mother of the Mad” and “Catastrophe”. Many of your favorites will undoubtedly be found in these nearly 80 minutes. What you won’t find are any new or exclusive tracks. The packaging is really nice. It includes the typical archival show posters as well as the personnel on each song. The coolest thing is the informative timeline that covers Swingin’ Utters’ impressive 30 year history. There is even a separate, smaller timeline just for the members’ side projects.

If you already have all the band’s studio LP’s and key EP’s, you can probably skip this. If you’re new to Swingin’ Utters, this would be a good place to start. Casual fans will likely want this too. Drowning in the Sea, Rising with the Sun is a really great overview of a really great band. (Despite my petty grievances about sequencing and the lack of new tracks.) It’s a little trickier for people like me who have about half of the Utters’ albums, but ultimately I found that this does a nice job of filling in some of the gaps in my collection.