Swansea Sound started in the middle of lockdown. They realised that fast, loud, joyous, angry indiepop punk was the answer to being stuck indoors. Who needs introspection?
Hue Williams is reunited with Pooh Sticks partner Amelia Fletcher (ex- Talulah Gosh, Heavenly). Rob Pursey (also ex-Heavenly) and Ian Button (Wreckless Eric’s live collaborator) provide the noise. Swansea Sound are the fast, acerbic and joyous past, present and future of indie.
Four of the tracks were released as singles, all of them now impossible to obtain. ‘Corporate Indie Band’ was a limited edition cassette, ‘I Sold My Soul on eBay’ was a one-off lathe cut that got auctioned on eBay (with a £400 winning bid), ‘Indies of the World’ was a 7” inch single that briefly hit the UK physical charts, but immediately sold out and plummeted back out again. And then there was ‘Swansea Sound’: a requiem for a lost radio station; an anti-corporate lament - another limited edition cassette single.
First track Rock N Roll Void gives a three minute revision session, just in case you’ve forgotten about The Ramones, The Kinks, The Buzzcocks and the brief explosion of indie noise pollution of 1986. Some of the songs are reflexive – ‘Swansea Sound’ and ‘The Pooh Sticks’. (Who else was going to write a tribute to The Pooh Sticks?) Others are searching for hope in the digital desert – ‘Let It Happen’, ‘I’m OK When You’re Around’, ‘Pasadena’, ‘Angry Girl’. ‘Je Ne Sais Quoi’ is pure pop throwaway fun. The others songs are dead catchy too, they just happen to express a sickness and a contempt for the state of things. ‘Corporate Indie Band’ is about a group who have mortgaged their creativity to a major label and sold their identities to an online marketing team of public schoolboys. Freedom of Speech takes a look at three contemporary ‘alternative’ music stars and considers how they’ve responded to BLM, the pandemic and the rise of right-wing populism. ‘Like self-serving arseholes’, is the unfortunate answer. (You won’t struggle to work out who the three ‘alternative’ stars are.)
Swansea Sound took their name from a well-loved local radio station when it was given a corporate makeover in 2020. They even used the radio station’s abandoned logo. Like the indiepunk pop songs, something modern acidic and angry has taken up residence in a familiar, borrowed frame. You can throw yourself around to Swansea Sound like it’s 1986, but if you catch the lyrics you’ll remember you’re in 2021. (Sorry about that.)
The Rum Puncheon, a notorious pub in Swansea, closed down decades ago.