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Album Review

On the heels of Swell's eponymous LP, 1992's ...Well? finds the band — founded by frontman David Freel and drummer Sean Kirkpatrick — operating as a foursome with the addition of bassist Monte Vallier and guitarist John Dettman. The eclectic, electric, and dynamic set averts the sophomore slump despite the occasional distraction of lounge singer Richard McGhee, who mumbles his way through a couple of interludes, including "Intro." With such diversions out of the way, Freel takes center stage on "At Long Last," giving a stellar vocal performance that heightens the song's deep, intoxicating groove. Revisiting moments like this, bolstered by Dettman's roaring axe, Swell deliver on the promise of early alternative rock. Elsewhere, inventive tracks like "The Price" — echoing 1960s psychedelia — and the country-touched "Down" show a band evolving unhindered through these ten original tunes. ~ John D. Luerssen, Rovi


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 I-Beam...
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...Well?, Swell
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