Swell Everybody Wants to Know

There's always been something a little prickly and snarky about the lyrics and persona of Swell's multi-purpose leader David Freel, but his music has usually been woolly and ripply. It's always felt like a warm flannel blanket of sound - sometimes deceptively comfortable - but five years away from recording has changed the approach just a little, with Freel's barbs more tactile, leaving the normally placid surface of the music somewhat jagged. While Swell's latest release is less inviting than previous outings, but it doesn't disappoint, and those who found Swell to be rather aloof or coy on albums past have new cause to investigate. (Beggars Banquet)