Swearin' Surfing Strange

Swearin'Surfing Strange
Swearin's debut flew under the radar upon its release last year, but found many champions via word-of-mouth in the ensuing months. Their quick follow-up, Surfing Strange, adheres to the lo-fi, early '90s pop-punk fuzz of that release, but ditches some of the Superchunk worship that both propelled and hampered it. Slower tempos and a newfound willingness to experiment within the box they've created for themselves are pervasive and, for the most part, effective. "Watered Down" is a highlight, particularly when vocalists Allison Crutchfield and Kyle Gilbride sing in unison. The record's middle third, however, lacks the effervescent energy of its front and back ends; it's also worth noting that these are the least conventional Swearin' tracks on the album. Surfing Strange feels like a transitional album, as the group look to define themselves with their artistic voice, rather than those of their influences. Even so, that doesn't mean that they can't have some fun in the process. (Wichita)