Sunday, 5 January 2020

Swan Prince - Enjoy The Rain EP


Labels: Hell Hath No Fury Records
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 15 Mar 2019

Tracklist:

1. Glass Half Empty
2. SWL
3. The Shadows
4. In Your Dreams
5. Dangerous Weather

I saw a post on social media from a label the other day that read "2020: Needs more punk". It resonated with me because punk is the reason that I got into music properly and am doing what I do now. This review will form part of a series of several that I'm going to be writing, focusing on Manchester label Hell Hath No Fury Records. The label focuses on DIY punk bands who contain members that identify as womxn, non-binary and queer, while also promoting gigs and other notable causes. First up is the 2019 EP "Enjoy The Rain" by Birmingham (UK) skate-punk quartet Swan Prince. This is their second EP.

After a sickly-sweet vocal harmony that forms the intro to this EP, opening song Glass Half Empty is equally as clean but with instrumentation that backs it up, featuring plenty of bite. The song itself speaks of how to cope when on your own, with your own thoughts and is very apt in the current climate, where mental health is becoming a bigger topic for discussion. The lead vocals of vocalist/guitarist Rachel are very crisp and clear and it’s a characteristic of the recording as a whole. SWL is a song that could well sit on an Alkaline Trio record no problem, but it still contains it’s own identity and message. Alongside Rachel, lead guitarist Josh, bassist/backing vocalist Jamie and drummer/second backing vocalist Josh are all clearly talented musicians. Note: Apologies if the line-up mentioned above is incorrect, Swan Prince has changed line-up since writing and recording this EP, so my facts may be wrong. Please correct me if so.

At times during “Enjoy The Rain”, you might be expecting something grittier but Swan Prince keeps their music melodic and clean, which there’s absolutely nothing wrong with when it’s played this well. The Shadows is a faster and more urgent song but there’s still time for the band to mix up tempos and textures. The way that In Your Dreams follows straight on is great and helps the EP to retain it’s momentum. There are plenty of solid pop-punk hooks flowing through both the song and the release, and it all has real potential, especially from a band still in their infancy. 

It took a while for it to strike me but as EP closer Dangerous Weather plays out, there’s a nod to grunge/post-punk going on in the vocals at times (thought maybe that’s just what I hear and I’m totally wrong), but whatever it is it’s great and adds another element to Swan Princes’s sound. There’s something familiar about this particular take on punk and it’s not going to set the world alight, but Swan Prince are an honest band, playing what they enjoy and doing it very well. They will reach a wider audience by default than a lot of bands featured on this blog, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t check them out as well. For a scene and a sub-culture that’s still very much male-dominated, perhaps we can begin here. 

You can stream and download "Enjoy The Rain" from Swan Prince's bandcamp page below:-



CD copies can be purchased from Hell Hath No Fury Records here:- https://hellhathnofuryrecords.bandcamp.com/album/enjoy-the-rain

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