Unwelcome Guests - Don't Go Swimming (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Unwelcome Guests

Don't Go Swimming (2010)

Kiss of Death

From the sunny opening riffs and whimsical vocal performance of the start (and title track), it's readily apparent that Unwelcome Guests aren't your typical Kiss of Death band. The label, known mostly for what some might lazily call "Fest-core," took a risk in releasing this album and judging by the lack of press it's received in the months since it's been out, it hasn't paid off. It's a damn shame, too, as Don't Go Swimming is a fun listen where diverse influences shine in a harmonious fashion.

In addition to the aforementioned sounds found in "Don't Go Swimming," the track also features some bouncy drumming as well as an impressive guitar solo at its apex. On tracks like "Wrecking Ball" and "Nothing Here," the band dabbles in relatively straightforward, ultra-competent guitar rock, though the former is far more upbeat than the latter; a weeping solo ups the solemnity toward the end of the track and keeps Unwelcome Guests' versatility apparent. "Walking Is Tough" is up there, too, with undistorted guitars being paired with hooky soloing to create a unique, dynamic affair.

Of course, the quick, straight-up pop-punk tracks here are nothing to sneeze at, either. "Might Be Broken" ekes out an infectious chorus in its brief 1:43 running time, and "Considering" achieves roughly the same while simultaneously featuring some downright badass drumming. On "Weight," the band gets a little more anthemic, with solid harmonies and huge guitars throughout.

The unplugged "Mazie" is pretty and heartfelt, and its minimalism allows vocalist Micah Winship to display his talents without all that diabolical rock music drowning it out. It would've made a great closer, so it's strange (but hardly damning) that the band elected to put two more tracks after it. The actual closer, "Warm Soon" closes Don't Go Swimming in much the same sunny and bouncy manner as it opened, and when Winship belts out the line "It's gonna be warm soon!" in the chorus, the optimism is awfully contagious.

Unwelcome Guests have posted Don't Go Swimming as a pay-what-you-want download at their Bandcamp page, so there's literally no excuse for you not to check out one of the best records of the year.