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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Swirl - Ditch Day Soundtrack (2017)

Photo by Neil Zolozower


Temecula, California based hard rock four piece Swirl released their self-titled album last year, but they’ve been on the scene since the early 2000’s and that incarnation of the band enjoyed some success touring the United States and Japan on the backs of their Carlos Cavazo/Matt Thorr produced debut Out of Nowhere. They have logged countless concert appearances opening for acts as diverse as LA Guns, Red Dragon Cartel, and Souls of We, among many others. The recent theatrical release Ditch Day tapped Swirl’s self-titled album for three songs featured on the film’s soundtrack. These three songs are far removed from the nascent Swirl’s early efforts and stand as representative efforts from an album that packs tremendous punch from the outset. Lead singer Alfred Ramirez, guitarist Duane “DT” Jones, bassist and backing vocalist Shane Carlson, and drummer Brian “Bam Bam” Jones have coalesced into a formidable live and studio unit with a surplus of rock and roll attitude to back up their unquestionable skills.

“Spell”, the first of the three songs, has enough electricity crackling through the arrangement to power a small city. It begins with Carlson’s fluid and hard-charging bass line before the guitars and drums fall in with him. It’s a headlong rush bristling with all the attitude we expect from this sort of music, but there’s a much more combustible mix of sharp musical talent and hard rock fundamentals than what longtime fans of this genre may be accustomed to. Swirl will spoil listeners in this regard and make many other bands of their ilk sound tired and uninspired. Ramirez has all the requisite rock and roll showmanship, even in the studio, that this style demands, but he conveys the subject matter with substantial style and strong phrasing.

“Rise Up” hits all its marks and then some. There’s a great call to arms kind of feel coming through here and the messaging aspect of the band plays fantastic alongside their powerhouse musical presentation. The song urges listeners to push past adversity, scale whatever obstacles are thrown in their path, and overcome whatever holds them back from realizing their potential. The final song included on the film soundtrack, “We Are Alive”, shares some of the subject matter from the previous song, but it’s much more of an affirmative track in the sense that it prods the audience to assert their identity and unique destiny no matter what the cost. Duane Jones emerges from these songs as a dynamic, powerful guitarist more than capable of handling the demands that come from being the band’s sole six string force. Traditional wisdom maintains that one guitar bands often have a huge hole in their sound thanks to the lack of a second guitarist, but you hear very little of that with Swirl. Instead, these three songs have a full bodied force that rattles the sternum and charges the senses. Swirl’s contributions to the Ditch Day soundtrack will expose this super-talented band to more listeners than ever before and hopefully prime them for their next ascent towards widespread global stardom.

Written by: Montey Zike


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