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For All the Beautiful People

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Album Review

On their second release for Beggar's Banquet (and fifth overall), San Francisco's Swell continues their string of solidly consistent albums with For All the Beautiful People. Also, it marks the first appearance on record by new drummer Rob Ellis, who appears to fit in perfectly with Swell's schizophrenic musical style. Like past releases, Swell (which also includes founding members David Freel on guitar/vocals and Monte Vallier on bass/vocals) manages to cover a lot of ground. "Make Up Your Mind" sounds a bit like the Cars due to strange synth flourishes; the opener "Today" contains a fat and funky bassline, while the album's first single, "Everything Is Good," is a mixture of Weezer and '60s Stax recording artists (due to the presence of horns for the chorus). Swell seems at ease with all these different styles, as you can detect a laid-back and confident feel to the tunes. For All the Beautiful People is easily Swell's strongest record to date.

Biography

Formed: 1989

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Alternating influences from neo-psychedelia, noise pop, and Ennio Morricone film scores, Swell formed in San Francisco in 1989 when vocalist/guitarist David Freel and drummer Sean Kirkpatrick decided to record an album. Enlisting second guitarist John Dettman and bassist Monte Vallier, the band recorded a self-titled debut album and released it on their own Psycho Specific label in April 1990. After playing live for the first time in August — a support slot for Mazzy Star at San Francisco's...
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For All the Beautiful People, Swell
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