Upon first impressions, The Swagger’s eponymous debut EP is a real mixed bag of sounds. From their opening track ‘Stoned’ you would expect a heavy indie/rock, punk inspired EP however throughout the four tracks the band touch on Brit-pop; psychedelia; punk; and even, rhythm and blues.
The North London band had been together for 4 years before choosing to release these 4 tracks to form their debut EP from an archive of nearly 100 songs. This severe cull could explain why there is such variety between tracks; the foursome have attempted to showcase all their capabilities and interests into one four-song EP which has left some mystery as to which route they plan to pursue in their next release, be that a positive or negative thing.
Throughout the EP there is a clear influence from punk bands such as the Sex Pistols and the Buzzcocks, seen often through Lee Stevens’ (lead vocals, rhythm guitar) Johnny Rotten style vocals, particularly in ‘Keep on Fighting’. This, however, is contrasted slightly in the chorus as the band take a much more guitar led, melodic sound showing their self-confessed Brit-pop inspiration.
Exploring a slightly more psychedelic route, the second track on the EP ‘She Gonna Blow My Mind’ features distorted guitars; repetitive chord sequences; and whimsical, melodic vocals. It might not be the most technically intricate or challenging song ever written however it certainly has a distinct ‘summer of love’ feel and is fundamentally a very enjoyable, easy listen.
The Swagger are not a game-changing band, they haven’t offered anything that hasn’t been heard or seen before. In fact, you could pinpoint nearly every musical influence they have acknowledged before you had finished listening to one song, to name just one example, the guitar solos in final track ‘Ride’ couldn’t possibly sound more like an Oasis riff if they tried. However, The Swagger’s debut EP is not in any way bad despite its slight confusion in genre. It is a positive; well produced; energetic EP that has left me interested to see what they are going to do next, and that can only be a good thing.