This is the sound of NOW, TODAY, 2021 in Spades. Swansea Sound (Hue Williams, Amelia Fletcher, Rob Pursey, Ian Button) are the latest victim of the global pandemic and via their new album Live at the Rum Puncheon we are all the beneficiaries. What these people did is picked up their instruments turning our collective misery and heartache into spun audio gold. It's like a Pop Music Newspaper; they're reading our thoughts, not just the global health situation, our collective cynicism about the political cataclysm and general social ineptitude; Live at the Rum Puncheon is a pantograph for our emotions and despair in the form of wild screamin' punk rot and pop pulverismo.
the famous club Rum Puncheon, scene of so much distortion and spilled emotions
Just to be contrary, let's take leave of the present and view the new Swansea Sound album of this very minute in the context of rock'n'roll's fabled past. It's a past peppered with classic moments of live bravado which in their own way captured the shared jubilation of their moment in time, like a Giant Asian Murder Hornet captured in amber. How does Live at the Rum Puncheon measure up to these titans of creative expression and musical magic?
MC5, Kick out the Jams (Elektra)
The comparison here is obvious: both combos kick unholy A, both are steeped in the blues, both combos write ferocious and uncompromising odes to the get down nitty gritty. As for the live performances, both are raw and unfettered by orthodox notions of showbiz decorum: taking it to the streetz.
The Bluebelles featuring Patti La Belle, Sweethearts of The Apollo (Newtown)
The similarity between The Bluebelles live show and that of Swansea Sound is in the song craft. Sweethearts of the Apollo features a Brill Building style pop perfection which Swansea Sound meet more than halfway.
The Fall, Live at the Witch Trials (I.R.S.)
Besides the obvious lyrical comparison these two combos share a certain acerbic wit, tempered in the case of Swansea Sound by their sophisticated sense of whimsy. Either which way, Live at the Rum Puncheon is def another Rebellious Jukebox unleashed!
Kenny and the Kasuals, The Impact Sound of Kenny and the Kasuals (Live at the Studio Club) (Mark Records Ltd.)
What we have here is the classics, done right. "Money", "Baby, Please Don't Go", "Farmer John", "Empty Heart", hit after hit. Swansea Sound take a similar approach: "Corporate Indie Band", "The Pooh Sticks", "Rock'n'Roll Void", "Je Ne Sais Quoi". Live at the Rum Puncheon is just hit after hit. Unstoppable.
James Brown and The Famous Flames Live at the Garden (King)
Mr. Please, Please himself, James Brown recorded live at The Latin Casino, Cherry Hill, N.J. in 1967: fierce and fearless, The Famous Flames are HOTT and HORNY. The crowd is feeding off their energy, James Brown and The Famous Flames are feeding off the crowd. Not unlike the feel in the air at the Rum Puncheon as Swansea Sound roll through their set of crowd pleasing anti-anthems. Feel the sweat.
Live at CBGBs, the Home of Underground Rock (GBGB & OMFUG Records)
Here we have a venue that offers not much other than it's grim surroundings, which provide a counterpoint to the beauty of the music contained therein. The nuanced noodlings of Tuff Darts, Mink DeVille's soulful strut, these are in sharp relief to the savage set-to of the Bleeker & Bowery background (pre-
Nina Simone, At the Village Gate (Colpix)
There is no comparison.
Heartbreakers, Live at Max's Kansas City (Max's Kansas City Records)
Ya, I know, this is a sloppy mess, what if Heartbreakers and Swansea Sound were to share a dressing room for a night of rock'n'roll debauchery, there's no club that could withstand the implosion. That's a lot of broken guitar strings.
The Make-Up, Destination: Love; Live! at Cold Rice (Dischord)
The common thread is the common threads, or shall we say sense of style. Two rock'n'roll bands that got that look and flaunt it well. 'Nuff said.
There you have it people. Swansea Sound have dished up their very best and we can take it. Live at the Rum Puncheon is available now at The K Mail Order Dept.
Rob Pursey and Amelia Fletcher also play in Catenary Wires
...and Marine Research, Tender Trap.