For as long as they’ve been playing, California’s Swingin Utters are of the most criminally underrated bands around. Formed back in the late 80s, Swingin Utters have made a name for themselves over the past 30 years with their raucous rock and roll infused, no bullshit punk rock. I’ve been a pretty big fan ever since I first heard A Juvenile Product Of The Working Class, and I completely loved their last LP they released back in 2014 Fistful Of Hollow. Four years later, the band released their 10th full length album Peace and Love today (8/31/18), and I’ve had the pleasure of listening to it pretty much daily for a few weeks now.
A lot has changed in four years, both with the band and our world, and it shows on Peace and Love. For starters, the lyrics have pretty strong political undertones this time around, something Swingin Utters have usually shied away from. “This is, by far, our absolutely most political record we’ve ever done,” guitarist/vocalist Koski says. “We don’t generally write very pointedly political songs. We tend to be a little more vague and abstract. But this one is pretty pointedly disgusted and pissed off and really directly attacking these fuckin’ people in office.”
Songs like Deranged deal with just how far off the deep end we’ve gone with the current state of affairs is in the US, while I Hope He Dies takes on NOFX’s Idiot Son Of An Asshole levels of subtly with lyrics like “We’re sick to death of rich white men” with an incredibly catchy chorus of “Yes, I hope he dies.”
Musically, Peace and Love is different as well from previous releases, and this could partially be due to the fact that this is the first release with their new bassist and drummer. The insanely melodic punk songs Sirens and Louise and Her Spider includes a decent amount of ambiance instead of the raw punk we’re used to from the band, while Seeds of Satisfaction almost takes on a 60s surf vibe… although it could be argued that early Ramones was essentially the Beach Boys played a bit faster and with more distortion, but I digress. Speaking of The Ramones, E.C.T is clearly Swingin Utters attempt at Ramones worship with their lyrics about shock treatment and bridges that actually had me singing “Hey! Ho!” out loud.
You’ll still find classic Swingin Utters throughout the album though. Songs like Undertaker Undertake, Human Potential and Deranged (after it’s instrumental intro) are your typical circle pit inducing songs we’ve come to love from the band.
As a whole, the album is much more mid-tempo than their previous releases. This isn’t to say that the band has gone “soft” for lack of a better term, as it’s still very much a punk album through and through. I almost feel like Swingin Utters perfectly captured the feeling of complete exhaustion in this fucked up political climate, and forcing oneself to keep fighting when all seems hopeless. Songs like Louise and Her Spider, Dubstep, Demons Of The Springtime, and Sleeping are all great examples of this, as they’re weary, slower, but at the same time still pissed and have an underlying (if subdued) energy underneath.
With previous albums, I’ve always completely loved a few songs, but always ended up skipping a couple slower ones depending on my mood. Not with Peace and Love. Due to the more mid-tempo tone of the album, I find that I enjoy the album as a whole better than each individual song, as the album just flows. I really enjoy Peace and Love a lot and like I said I haven’t been able to stop listening , but I do miss the more straightforward, fast paced punk songs we’re used to from the band. While I’m sure the slower tempos will turn off a few fans, it’s definitely a solid album that any Swingin Utters fan should give a few listens to in its entirety. The Utters were able to evolve their sound without completely abandoning it on Peace and Love.
Also, if you get a chance go see them live. They throw a fucking amazing show. I’m super bummed out that their Philly show with the Bouncing Souls sold out in a minute (I had tickets in my cart literally 2 minutes after they went on sale and it was sold out by then).
(personal favorites: Undertaker Undertake, Dubstep, Deranged, Demons Of Springtime)