Weirds – Swarmculture
Release: 26th May 2017
It’s been a hectic few months for Weirds, having had their Facebook account hacked not once, but twice and have had to start over, therefore losing their whole following. Despite the mess that this caused, the band have bounced back from this. This year, Weirds have already performed a short, UK headline tour in March, followed by a brief stint supporting The Wytches. Following ‘Swarmculture‘s release, Weirds have various festival appearances coming up across the summer.
Back to ‘Swarmculture’ though. A theme of darkness starts from the artwork and is threaded straight though the album. ‘Swarmculture’s artwork actually features snakes owned by Steve Ludwin, the guy who injects snake venom into himself for self-immunisation.
The fittingly named opener, ‘Things That Crawl‘ builds gradually with monotonous rhythms to start with before erupting into something much more chaotic. With riffs aplenty, what a way to start the album. This is followed up by the prevalent vocals in ‘Valley Of Vision‘ are joined by an ever so hypnotic bassline throughout. Although it becomes somewhat calmer during the glistening, almost out of this world breakdown before becoming something huge at the end.
‘Black Desert‘ starts off generally calmer than the previous tracks with echoing, rounded melodies and soundscapes ringing out in the background behind rasping vocals. Becoming heavier mid-track, it even starts dabbling in something dance-like with all the moving synths.
Something about ‘Weird Sun‘ reminds me of Wire with the initial vocal delivery. It’s a return to form in comparison to the previous two tracks, but a far more raucous one with an incredibly contrasting structure. One second it’s crazy and the next it’s calm, which shouldn’t really work, but it does, amazingly. ‘Weird Sun’ is seemingly split into two parts, calming in the middle before working up into an experimental, mesmerising breakdown.
Beginning with reflective, more delicate melodies, ‘Crows‘ is another calmer point on the album. It’s almost serene with its sweeping synths, dreamy guitars and lengthy vocals throughout the choruses. The album calms a lot more in general towards the end with ‘Salamander’s Sister‘ and ‘Tunnelling‘ having a much more mellow feel to them without feeling nonchalant and effortless. ‘Tunnelling’ starts to become a lot less clear and a lot more ambiguous as the track goes on, becoming quite vague vocal-wise.
There’s a deeper darkness to final track ‘Past Life‘, more so than the rest of the album. The rumbling bassline joined by laid back, reflective vocals but there’s an anger to this track. The energy and liveliness from the first half of the album is back in ‘Past Life’ and the track is definitely one to wake you up, ending the album with a bang.
‘Swarmculture‘ as an album is a strong debut album that will stand the test of time for Weirds and if you listen to just one album this year, then make sure it’s this. ‘Swarmculture’ has got something for everyone, regardless of whether you’re into heavy rock, post-punk or even shoegaze. The album has highlights such as ‘Weird Sun’ and ‘Past Life’, but it’s definitely not limited to that.