September 20, 2020
(Rough Trade)Angry, tuneful and woke – this Tasmanian punk band dazzle on all counts
A Swayze and the Ghosts: Paid Salvation review – a faultless debut
No one turns to garage punk for its compositional originality. The genre’s evergreen swagger rarely fails to supply uplift, however, and newcomers A Swayze and the Ghosts have refined the nervy charge of the Ramones and Television down to a fine tilth. This Tasmanian band’s debut is end-to-end faultless – upbeat fury in toothsome doses, sometimes cut with early Strokes, more often with the drilled urgency of Rocket from the Crypt. Bouncing melodies come fitted as standard; feedback filigree, political ire and gang-style backing vocals add to the impression of the platonic ideal of a band from a small town playing for their lives.
If the metronomic title track takes aim at organised religion like it’s 1981, the Ghosts are also a very 2020 sort of band. There’s zero knuckle-dragging in the lyrics. Like Idles, they channel the genre’s mouthiness away from toxic masculinity; Swayze’s wife, Olivia, contributes her lived experience to songs such as Suddenly. Connect to Consume, meanwhile, rips chunks out of online vacuity: “Sorry Roger Daltrey, but fuck my generation.”
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