Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Album Review: Swindled by Up For Nothing

Swindled is the title of the upcoming new album from New Yorkers Up For Nothing. Up For Nothing first came to my attention on the Hope compilation put out by Dying Scene and For The Love Of Punk contributor Lauren Mills. Lauren also gave me the opportunity to have an early listen to Swindled to review before its release, which I was very happy about.

The opening track on Swindled is Dignity. From the start it grabs your attention with its simple guitar chords and strained vocal style. Naturally the whole band joins in to create a great pop punk track that has a hint of street punk in it. The energy and passion in the song is infectious and got me very excited for the next thirteen songs. Memorial Day is up next, it's short but, after a slow build up, it's incredibly fast. I'm reminded of Drive-Thru Records legends Allister, a band that I absolutely love so I'm really digging this song. Tiny Violins features a fantastic harmony section. The whole song is played at a slower tempo and allows the entire band to show off some of their musical skills. On Up For Nothing’s Facebook page they list The Ergs as one of their influences and this is definitely apparent on Tiny Violins, if you like The Ergs you'll really enjoy this. The fourth song Don't Wanna Know is an up-tempo rambunctious pop punk anthem. The melody of the song makes it so danceable and it features an insanely catchy chorus.

The album's title track Swindled is the song I first heard on the Hope Compilation. Opening with the lyrics "I Think I Might’ve Fucked Up", you know that this will be a song about regretting mistakes and bad decisions. This is a slower, more melodic sounding track compared to what we've heard so far on the album and is a fantastic change of pace. The fast pace returns on The Faker, another song I've heard before and one that in fact featured on my top fifty songs of 2015. Originally released on a split with Resolutions this is an up-tempo sing-along about being fed up with your scene but still trying to make the best of things. This song is a lot of fun and features a lot of gang vocals, which I adore. I think this song will be a lot of fun to watch live. Up next are two shorter songs, Get Right, which is thirty-nine seconds long and The Suspense Is Terrible (I Hope It Lasts), which is just ten seconds long. Despite the short length of each song Up For Nothing manage to fit an awful lot into the tracks. I wonder if they were having a game with themselves seeing how short they could make a complete song. 

Track number nine, Born At The End Of Summer, is similar to Dignity in that in starts out with just vocals and guitar before the whole bands joins in for another big pop punk sing-along. This song is about the summer break feeling like that's when you really come alive. This is my favourite song on the album; it has that fist-in-the-air quality that really makes me love a song. If you only listen to one song on Swindled Born At The End Of Summer is the one you should listen to. It's a great advertisement for what Up For Nothing are all about. The dual vocals on 80 West are really interesting, combining the urgent and strained vocals you hear throughout the album with a much more gravelly style that really kept my attention and added another element to Up For Nothing's fantastic sound. I wish they would have done this on more of the album. Sink starts with a fun drum roll before going into a more polished sounding pop punk sound. The lyrics from the verse are delivered in a punchy style. They are thrn combined with the infectious chorus and some amazing harmonies that finish the song.

The Twelfth song is titled Burn and is another song that features multiple vocalists and great harmonies. This is a short song that again managed to squeeze a lot into its one minute and fourteen seconds. The thirteenth and penultimate song Grody starts out slowly with a piano being played. This made me think the Up For Nothing were going to show off a more emotional side - but no, after a few seconds it was straight back to the fast paced, rowdy, sing-along pop punk I've loved from the very start of the record. The tempo of the music is relentless and really drives the song along and gives it so much urgency. The final song on Swindled is called I'm Gone. This track is some melodic pop punk at its very best. When you think of bands in the genre such as Red City Radio, Dear Landlord and Banner Pilot you have to say Up For Nothing are as good as any of those bands. Up For Nothing go down the dual vocals road again and it just works so, so well. It gives the song a feeling of inclusion that I love.

One word that you could use to describe Swindled is varied, but that really doesn't matter as the music they play is so much fun and is played phenomenally well. As the saying goes - if it's not broke, don't fix it! Up For Nothing have been a band since 2002 and it amazes me that I'm really only just hearing them as they are an absolutely brilliant band who should be far bigger than they are. 

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