Swearin' - Surfing Strange
Wichita obviously knew something everyone else didn't when they signed Waxahatchee, with Cerulean Salt turning out to be one of 2013's most quietly successful releases. After all, Katie Crutchfield had been making music in various guises for a few years to no great notice, but something about her newest, low-key guise seemed to strike a chord with the listening public. Hoping to repeat that success, the label has now secured the signature of Katie's sister Allison and her band Swearin', the pair having previously collaborated together in The Ackleys and P.S. Eliot.
Will lightning strike twice? Certainly, Surfing Strange has a bit of bounce and spark about it but it is awfully in debt to The Breeders - and when it's not worshipping at the temple of Kim and one of the guys takes over the vocals, it's very Pavement-esque. I know we're supposed to be all post-modern about these things and say 'Oh, but everything sounds like something else!' but not content with firing up some grungier Breeders riffs, the melodies and vocal phrasings also take their cues from the same source. As with Yuck, who at least initially shared similar 'spot the influence' issues, it does mean that it's hard to judge Swearin' on their own merits. Ironically, other US indie rock bands like Candy Hearts transcend such accusations by sounding more generic - and less easy to pin down. Still, numbers like the none-more-slacker 'Mermaid' and 'Dust in the Gold Sack' are just asking to be added to your next 90s-style playlist, suggesting once Swearin' find their own voice, Allison can be as big a deal as her sister is proving to be.