Furniture For Modern Living is the second album from Sounds Of Swami. The West Yorkshire based four piece have been around for a while now so it really seems about time they release a follow up to their debut self titled album which was released in 2013.
The ten track album begins with the song Lull. This kind of feels like an introduction to the album rather than a fully fledged track and it eases you into Furniture For Modern Living nicely. The beginning of the song features a simple guitar riff and some haunting vocals. There is just a whole load of eeriness in the song. It's kind of unsettling until that moment when things explode into life. The second song is named Guillotine and this is where you really get a proper feel of the Sounds Of Swami sound. The technical guitar playing by Luke Yates and Kurt Wood gets the ball rolling and really wakes you up. The vocals on the song switch nicely between melodic and more of a punchy in your face style. The song goes through a series of highs and lows that will have you in a trance one minute before making you lose your mind the next. Kill Me Already opens with a wall of anger. With a title like that it had to really. After that angry beginning you'd expect the next portion of the song to follow suit but surprisingly things become quite calm before slowly building towards some of the more furious moments of the track. I always enjoy when a song surprises me so kudos to Sounds Of Swami for that. Up next is Rome Won't Wait. This has a very interesting beginning with the vocals going off on two different melodic structures creating an ear catching sound. This style continues throughout the song, making it difficult to zone out from the track - not that you would want to, it's a cracker. Twisting My Arm is a more conventional melodic hardcore track. Rob Gilbert's bass and Joe Dimuantes' drums are given more of a chance to shine through on the recording of the song and shows what talented musicians they are. I enjoyed the dual vocalists here with one taking the softer parts and the other doing some intense shouting. The two styles work really well together, with the softer vocal giving the harder an added emphasis when it comes into play.
The second half of the album begins with a song named Palava (one of my favourite words). The track is about doing something wrong and not being able to believe that you did it. The switching between soft and intense again works wonders with the two styles complimenting each other wonderfully. Bigger Pictures is a mesmerising if somewhat disjointed track. It's a solely instrumental track which is surprising song ordering at this stage of Furniture For Modern Living. The song, like most Sounds Of Swami songs, takes you on a series of ups and downs. The builds are fantastic, really making you believe the song is about to explode into life before things just calm down again. The end of the track sees the sound switch to some good old distortion that closes out the song in a great dirty, mucky, grungy way. The eighth song, Take Take Take, starts off with a ferocious bang. It's like being struck in the face by a cannonball and not having the time to protect yourself. That's how hard that song starts off. Then it really drops off, going almost silent before building up to another cannonball assault. The song is an attack on the consumer culture that is now such a big part of our society. Sounds Of Swami talk about how everyone is always willing to take and the majority of the time people are taking what they simply don't need. The penultimate song on the album is New Wounds. The guitar work in the opening verse is very reminiscent of the Dead Kennedys, it's rough, raw and very fast. The theme of intensity continues and at time is amplified to even higher levels. I particularly enjoyed the section of the song where some more melodic harmonies joined in with the primal hardcore screaming that was happening. Finally we have the six minute epic Tough Love. Gone are the disjointed, technical guitars and hardcore screaming and in its place with have a beautiful crafted melodic masterpiece that builds wonderfully towards its big finale. On my first listen of the track I was waiting for the poo to go down and there were plenty of times when it felt like that big moment had arrived but instead the band displayed an excellent restraint and control in their songwriting. This was a pleasant change of pace from the previous tracks and a great way to finish the album.
Pre-order Furniture For Modern Living here: https://soundsofswami.bandcamp.com/album/furniture-for-modern-living
Like Sounds Of Swami here: https://www.facebook.com/soundsofswami/
This review was written by Colin Clark.