Three tracks into Paid Salvation, the debut album from Tazmanian garage-rockers A. Swayze & The Ghosts, the words come screaming: ‘I got nothing left to do, except sit around and talk with you.’ Judging by the fervent buzz surrounding this four piece, and all going well with this hard-to-ignore pandemic, they will in fact have plenty to do. This is the kind of music that makes you miss being pushed up against the sweaty t-shirt of a lad a foot taller than you who insists on waving his Beavertown Neck Oil all over your head. Think arms in the air, swaying upstairs at the Old Blue Last. It’s music to pull you together with your fellow man at least in real life.
On ‘Connect to Consume’, Swayze bemoans the distance we’ve created between each other through the social media that inherently controls so many of our lives. It’s a reminder of the importance of human connection – and we’re all too aware of the realities of being separated from our loved ones.
Paid Salvation pays much homage to the great garage rock acts that have preceded them – Parquet Courts, Osees, Jay Reatard – and yet manages to escape that sense of repetition that plague so many acts in the genre. Whether its the electronic programming of the title track or the loosely-played follower ‘Mess of Me’, there is a sense of novelty. In part this is due to Swayze’s delivery – part sung, part shouted, he invites you in, simultaneously aloof and intimate. It is a rare talent that can inhabit these two states masterfully.
For those of us harbouring a desire to return to the world of live music, Paid Salvation will certainly add to that sense of nostalgia for a time that now seems so far. It is an exceptional group of viscerally hard-hitting tracks that demand your attention from the offset till the very end.
Paid Salvation is out now on Ivy League Records.
Review by Alexander Sarychkin