Swansgate: Becoming Someone
(Independent / 29 April 2022)
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“With this album, we really wanted to bottle up about 20+ years worth of musical influence into a 45 minute piece of music. My dad died a year before starting the project, and that thrust me into a transformation of sorts.
“I went through a long process of reflection, which led to a better understanding of who I am. Just as we are all children of our ancestors, this album is a child of all of the musical ideas that inspired it. I really tried hard to capture the essence of every artist I’ve ever loved, while arranging things in a way that is new and fun to listen to.” - Stu Draughn
Currently based out of Charlotte, NC, Becoming Someone is the debut albun for Swansgate, a trio of close friends who've concocted a brew of synthesizer-driven psychedelic pop.
The mood is dreamy and often mesmerizing in effect. The trio's music is characterized by earworm melodies set against interesting rhythms. While the music is definitely synth-heavy, electronics are used in the service of the song, creating a smooth and multi-layered sound.
Lost in the Sun is appropriately trippy, with jazzy chord changes and an irresistible groove. In Island of Lies, the mood turns to a trancey dance-friendly vibe with echoes of the Middle East. Stu Draughn's vocals are fluid - enhanced with studio wizardry to add to the track rather than disguise weakness.
Drunken Limbo is a standout track, one where Draughn's observant poetry is showcased against a syncopated rhythm and atmospheric keyboards. The beat and rhythm change about halfway through, building with a sense of urgency.
Each song offers something a little different, keeping it fresh through 12 tracks. Lust For Love and Why Need Someone are sweetly melodic in a romantic vein. The group's musical sense of invention comes to the fore on Broken Role Models, with a blend of dreamy melody, spoken word, and moody harmonies.
It's a intriguing release of polished work with a high bar of musicianship.
Tracklist: 1. Lost in the Sun; 2. Island of Lies; 3. Lust for Love; 4. Drunken Limbo; 5. While the Nighttime Wades; 6. Why Need Someone?; 7. Broken Role Models; 8. Notice Me; 9. Lines to Us; 10. The Story (End of Emotion); 11. Moving Forward; 12. Embedded Rhythm
Personnel: Stu Draughn - vocals, keyboards, piano, guitars, bass, drum programming, samples, MIDI programming; Michael McKinney - Drums (tracks 1, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12); Gabe McKinney - Bass (track 12)
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