Surreal NumberSofaburn Records
By AJ Phink
Surreal Number is the latest album from Ohio’s Swarming Branch, the album was released at the tail end of last month and is now available via Sofaburn Records. Swarming Branch have developed a reputation for the unpredictable, with improvisation and change becoming something of a hallmark of their recordings. This equally applies to both their style and their line up, with only songwriter Andrew Graham and drummer Don Leary being constant factors in the line up, however on Surreal Number they have forsaken their more experimental tendencies to create a more straightforward ten song collection.
Diamonds In The Distance opens Surreal Number with a melody that has a distinctly retro feel, it harks back to early 1970’s and feels like it wouldn’t sound out of place if it was added to the Big Lebowski soundtrack. This kind of retro feel permeates the album, elements of glam rock, in particular there’s an influence from T-Rex, are peppered across the album, along with some of the cheesier pop moments from the decade that taste forgot, all of this adds to the general sense that this is an album that is strangely out of sync with the modern world. The track In The Garden Of The Gods, my personal highlight from Surreal Number, cements the retro feel of the album as it retreats back even further with a distinctly sixties influence creeping into the mix.
Surreal Number is by no means a bad album, but it’s an odd hybrid of influences that span from the sixties to the eighties, although primarily it must be said that Surreal Number is an album that seems to oddly rooted in the early 1970s. Swarming Branch have released an album that sits somewhat uncomfortably amongst the current crop of releases. There’s nothing wrong with drawing from the past, but Surreal Number just feels like the product of a very different age and as such it must be said that it is a unique release, but it’s one that feels like a complete anachronism.
Surreal Number can be ordered via Sofaburn Records here