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  • Vasili Papathanasopoulos



Image: Supplied

Tasmanian band, A. Swayze & The Ghosts are bringing back classic 70’s rock on their debut record, Paid Salvation. Fronted by Andrew Swayze, the band bring brashy sing along melodies, energetic riffing guitars and pounding rhythms to the collection of songs. Whilst the raucous record incites carefree, energetic feelings, the album navigates serious subject matter lyrically. Commenting on the control of social media, ecocide, tall poppy syndrome, religion and more, the record stands out against other emerging Australian artists experimenting with the same sonic sounds.

The record opens with the in-your-face, It’s Not Alright. Harking back to classic 70’s rock’n’roll riffs and sounds, the band set the tone for the body of work. Swayze’s confident and fearless vocal performance takes centre stage, half-singing, half-shouting, but completely engaging. There’s also a disco-inspired bassline, that fits so well within the track, you’d be forgiven for missing the disco twang. On Suddenly, the band comment on gender inequality, taking on a female perspective. The track was co-written by Swayze’s wife and sung from her perspective. From here on in, It’s clear the band want to use their platform to present a variety of views and social commentary, something refreshing when compared against many current acts who steer clear of such conversations.

They continue the social commentary on Connect to Consume, taking aim at social media and its control over lives. The track presents the common idea that social media is a curated “fake” representation of our lives, and societies attachment to being online. Marigold sees the band tackle herd mentality, conforming to the views and opinions of others. Paid Salvation and Cancer introduce synth-punk sounds, utilising an Oberheim DMX drum machine. Whilst on Rich, Swayze purges himself of the frustrations that accompany tall poppy syndrome. The previously released single, Mess of Me, melodically stands apart from the rest of the record. It’s more jaunty with less in-your-face punk sounds, with Cancer being similar in nature.

The well-pieced record feels like a live gig. It perfectly encompasses the energetic and fast paced nature of a rock’n’roll set. The tightly wound production provides the perfect soundscape for Swayze to unleash his inner most thoughts, setting serious subject matter to a fun palette of sounds. Whilst it is a punk-rock record through and through, Paid Salvation navigates a variety of musical notes and influences. With hardcore riffs, synthesised sounds, and taking influence from bands such as The Stooges and The Clash, the band even pack a sprinkle of 70’s disco into the opening track. The honest and sometimes confrontational lyricism of the record is refreshing, and speaks to the egalitarian nature of the band. Fearless and captivating, A. Swayze & The Ghosts have delivered a timeless debut.

4/5 Stars

Paid Salvation is out tomorrow!


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