Swan Prince – Hell on Earth (Brassneck Records / Swamp Cabbage Records / Waterslide Records, 2020)

Swan Prince are from somewhere in the general Birmingham area, and describe themselves thusly: “Brummy mates with a lame band name making skate punk songs”. They formed in 2017, and have released previous material via Hell Hath No Fury Records. The band is made up as follows: Josh – Drums; Rachel – Vocals/Guitar; Danny – Bass; Ed – Guitar/Backing Vocals. The sleeve and inner feature artistic representations of the band’s actual pets – which seemingly include what I assume is an axotyl or a cave salamander or something (it’s pink and weird in a kind of endearing way…).

Hell on Earth is the band’s first full length, and goodness me, it’s a cracker. I feel a bit sad that I kinda slept on this lot. Life is hectic and/or full of ways to procrastinate and generally put off doing stuff, though. At least if you are me, anyways.

Photo cred: Sara Louise Bowery

The sound here is very reminiscent of the Fat Wreck stable when it was at it’s peak in the mid-90s, and whilst drawing heavily from a very SoCal oriented sound (think NOFX, Lagwagon, No Use For A Name), Swan Prince also seem to bring in a very British interpretation of that sound, evoking memories of classic UK bands of the same period such as Chopper, Crocodile God (who let’s not forget brought out a new LP on Brassneck about a year back), Vanilla Pod and the like.

Musically, the band play fast and hard – powered by tightly controlled, crisp, rapid drums. The band are still maintaining an impressive pop dynamic, however, demonstrated most plainly in the hooky guitar lines and a vocal that sort of reminds me of a Brummy version of either Elyse Rogers or Karine Denike from Dance Hall Crashers (but I can’t tell which is which anyways apart from visually). But you get the idea. Clean, sweet, almost crooning vocals. It’s nice, and serves as a strong contrast to the hectic pacing.

I’m utterly enjoying 2020 from a musical perspective, and this little lot sum things up perfectly. They seem to have recaptured and reinvigorated a sound that in many circles is probably looked upon as distinctly uncool. Swan Prince have managed to reframe that in a way that somehow masks without obscuring a high BPM with endearing sadness and sentiment. If there was a Hello Kitty version of About Time by Pennywise, it’d probably sound something not too disimilar to this. And I see nothing wrong with that. Tony of Nurgle rating: 9/10

This releases on friday 7th August and is available from Brassneck Records on a choice of Clear Yellow Vinyl (108 copies) or Orange Vinyl with Black Splatter (218 copies).

Find out more on the Swan Prince Facebook page

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